New gun blamed for rise in LA County deputy shootings – Yahoo News

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The number of accidental shootings by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies has more than doubled in two years as the department switches to a new handgun.

There were 12 accidental discharges of weapons in 2012 and 30 last year — most of which involved the new gun, the Los Angeles Times reported (http://lat.ms/1TkMK4O).

In October, a deputy tripped over a stroller and fired a bullet through the wall of a house in Huntington Park. Last November, a deputy in Lancaster shot himself in the thigh while pulling his gun. In December, a deputy in Compton accidentally pulled the trigger on his gun as he approached a suspected stolen car and a bullet hit the door. Nobody was in the car, however.

The inspector general of the Sheriff’s Department is investigating the increase in accidental firings. But sheriff’s officials attribute the increase to the learning curve for the new weapon, the Smith & Wesson M&P9.

Source: New gun blamed for rise in LA County deputy shootings – Yahoo News

 

This article popped up just as we wrapped today’s podcast. The article skews toward blaming the gun for it’s lack of a manual safety and lighter trigger. Shooters however, recognize this for what it is…A training problem made worse by inattentive shooters/officers. In other words, negligence.

Smith & Wesson’s M&P has been with us for several years now with literally millions of rounds fired by thousands of shooters across the country. And it has gone through several design/manufacturing changes over the years like any other product. It can be had with a manual safety if one so desires but, it’s often preferred to operate without said manual safety, making operation more akin to a Glock or one of the many “double-action only” pistols on the market.

Before the 92F or any of the many “wonder-nines” ushered in with the move to semiautomatic pistols in the 1980s, cops carried revolvers more often than not. And the vast majority of those revolvers were either Colt or Smith & Wesson revolvers that, like the M&P, lack a manual safety. In those days, the answer to the problem with negligent discharges was, as it is today, simply matter of learning to keep your booger-hook off the bang-switch.

Even LA County’s trainers have admitted there seems to be a correlation between negligent discharges and officers/deputies who previously used the Beretta 92FS. It seems those officers have gotten used to the trigger being “dead” while the safety is engaged or otherwise placing their fingers on triggers when it is not appropriate to do so. Yes, the trigger stroke is shorter. Yes, it is lighter. But it is neither short enough nor light enough to discharge spontaneously. It still takes a deliberate trigger stroke by the person holding the firearm. If the officer can’t exercise proper trigger-discipline, he shouldn’t be armed as he’ll eventually have a negligent discharge with any gun you give him. Fact is, some people can’t boil water without supervision and will screw up a ham sandwich given the opportunity. We cannot save them from themselves.

-GM

Be aware of your threat/target, be aware of those around you…

 

“The preliminary indications are that this is going to be a ‘friendly fire’ incident,” said Victor Senties, a Houston police spokesman.

Read More at Gunshot leaves officer injured after SW Houston chase – Houston Chronicle.

This isn’t a reflection on a particular agency. It’s just the latest such incident. Fortunately, this officer will survive. I know of at least one officer involved shooting in which one officer ended up shooting his own partner in the back of the head, killing him instantly. The incident led to changes in policy and training for that agency. But the lessons here apply to all of us who go armed.

Knowing your target and what’s beyond is a cardinal rule of gun handling. But, People have a strange tendency to get excited in shootings. As a result, they don’t all  stand still waiting to be shot or allowing you to conveniently re-orient yourself around them to engage a threat. They may run right into you or, in the case of fratricide I mentioned earlier, someone could stand right up in front of your muzzle as you’re breaking a shot.

We can’t make the world hold still conveniently for us to shoot an orderly array of targets those we see on the range. But we can and should seek training that exposes us to a reasonable approximation of what can and does happen in the real world. People are often willing to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a new gun but, wince at the idea of spending that same amount on training that might help them avoid negligently shooting an innocent bystander, family member, or friend should they find it necessary to use deadly force in their home, office, or in public.  We as civilians are not immune to these issues as at least one CHL holder learned the hard way several years ago in a Family Dollar store in Houston.

Be honest with yourself. plan and train accordingly.

-GM

TTAG simulates Charlie Hebdo attack…Lessons are learned

Screen-Shot-2015-01-13-at-11.10.02-PMThe Truth About Guns (TTAG) does a simulation of the Charlie Hebdo attack and the local media’s only takeaway is:

“…Only one survived after running away. No one was able to take out both shooters.”

via Gun Owners Participate In Simulation Of Paris Massacre « CBS Dallas / Fort Worth.

If you have been living under a rock, you might not know that an Islamic terrorist cell carried out an attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris last week. Al-Qaeda has claimed credit for the attack. Depending on who you ask, they were trained, the were organized, and there is no question, they were well armed in spite of tight European restrictions on the ownership and possession of firearms. They killed 12 people, including two responding police officer.

TTAG wanted to know if things might have gone differently had it happened in the United States where citizens can be armed and might have a better opportunity to defend themselves. The results were surprising to some, humbling to others. It has caused a great deal of discussion within the circles of people involved in the experiment and there were more takeaways from the experiment than what the media seemed to notice.

The experiment, in which 11 out of 12 participants were “fatally shot,” is a clear demonstration that mere possession of a gun does not mean success. ABCNews conducted a similar experiment a few years ago and with similar results. As in this case, none of the participants had any significant training and represent a significant majority of gun owners and CHL holders. Better training might have made a difference but, let’s face it, the vast majority of people carrying guns have done little more than attend the mandated CHL class and so, that’s who was tested.

The good news about testing this group was that some participants learned in visceral terms that they didn’t know what they didn’t know. They have been made aware of a world beyond shooting paper at their local gun range. In that some vein, some may have shot IDPA or USPSA competition and felt themselves to be OK shooters but, they too were humbled and realized they weren’t as prepared as they might have thought. Still others learned that simply waiting for help to arrive doesn’t work either. So all had their eyes opened and are better for it.

This experiment is best described as a worst case scenario. The “bad guys” in these experiments were trained, professional shooters…as in, made a living shooting people who needed to be shot. In the TTAG experiment, at least one is a well known trainer with a special forces background. To say the deck was stacked against survival for anyone is putting it mildly. Your typical beat cop in an identical situation would not have faired much better, if he survived at all. As mentioned earlier, two police officers were in fact killed in the actual attack. So there were no “easy” solutions to this scenario and some came to realize this situation was as much about minimizing losses (of life) as it was about “winning.”

Another significant point raised by one of the “bad guys” in this simulation is that each time they were engaged, it at least slowed them down. It goes back to the consistent observation that armed resistance always either slows or stops attackers. Another way to look at it is that slowing the attackers down translates into an opportunity for others to escape or plan a more effective defense if escape isn’t possible. And the media doesn’t mention that several times, one of the bad guys did get shot in the face…More often than not, that at least resets a guy’s clock and changes his priorities if it doesn’t turn him off outright. Unfortunately, even when the lone defender managed to “kill” one bad guy, the second shooter engaged and killed the defender, ending the scenario.

So what are the real takeaways here? Well, obviously, having a gun is a good thing but, as said before, it does not guarantee success. Success in these situations may simply mean fewer people die versus you “winning.” A lone defender with handgun against multiple attackers with rifles is at a distinct disadvantage.  Still, armed resistance is far from hopeless or pointless and beats the alternative of simply waiting to die.

-GM

Follow up to double-feed/failure to extract

So, yesterday I posted a video of an alternative method to clear an extended pistol stoppage commonly called a double-feed. More often than not, this is actually a result of a failure to extract the previously fired round but, it can also be induced by a shooter who short strokes a slide with a round already in the chamber producing an double-feed. The latter being more common with new/inexperienced shooters trying to load/reload their pistol.

The most common method for resolving this sort of stoppage is fairly straight forward. Experienced shooters will often pick up on this malfunction without even looking at the gun because the auditory and tactile feedback immediately tells them the slide has failed to go into battery. To clear the stoppage, the shooter first locks the slide to the rear. Next, the shooter rips the magazine out of the gun with his support hand and stows that magazine under his strong-side arm or tucks it into is support-side waistband area.  The shooter then racks the slide vigorously at least three times. Having racked the slide, the shooter now retrieves the magazine he just pulled out of the gun or a fully charged magazine from his mag carrier and inserts it the gun smartly to seat the magazine. Finally, the shooter racks the slide to load the gun and decides if he needs to continue servicing his threat/target with additional rounds. You can see an example here…http://youtu.be/BxTcQV-4R9w.

Now, I said when I posted this “new method,” that I couldn’t vouch for it and would have to try it. A friend of the show, Mate, pointed out that Todd Louis Green of Pistol-Training.com had developed the method some years ago. Still, I said I’d try it and try it I have, with all of my medium to full-size Glocks (17, 19, 23, 34, & 35). With those guns, it works consistently and reliably. But we don’t all carry Glocks and I knew I needed to try it on other guns I have on hand. So this evening, I tried it with the 9mm M&P Shield.

Well, I can tell you that it works with my gun…Some times. Whether it works is highly dependent on how much ammunition is left in the magazine and how tightly the top round in the magazine is wedged between the round in the chamber and the feed ramp. Specifically, the method failed outright with anything less than three rounds in the magazine. And it was only marginally usable with anything less than a full magazine. And while I’m tempted to try it on my 1911s, Sigs, HKs, and other guns, the fact that it doesn’t work on a gun I carry regularly means it simply isn’t worth changing a process I already know works just fine without the added issue of discarding what might be my only/last magazine.

-GM