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View Full Version : Ever a good way to bring this up with LEO?


MikeGoob
March 22, 2009, 06:25 PM
Ive read a few of the stories on here where some of you have been held at gunpoint by wary police (usually for opencarry or CCW). Some of the more disturbing cases were when its mentioned that the police officer has his/her finger on the trigger! We've all seen the mistakes with this one.

Now, I was trying to figure out, is there ever a good way to suggest to a LEO in that situation to 'please keep your finger off the trigger' without escalating things? If someone is jittery and nervous enough, just mentioning it could cause an accident. What would you do?

armsmaster270
March 22, 2009, 07:03 PM
If he's dumb or scared enough to have his finger on instead of by the trigger you don't want to make matters worse. follow directions and if you think it warants it call Internal Affairs after the fact..

ar15chase
March 22, 2009, 07:08 PM
If a cop has his finger on the trigger with the gun pointed at me. I will keep my mouth shut, my hands on the steering wheel, and be still, until I am told otherwise. Although I dont believe any officer or CHL holder should have a finger on the trigger until it is time to fire. I would later report him, even though he or she would prabably never get into trouble.

scorpion_tyr
March 22, 2009, 07:10 PM
I'm not a LEO, but the limited training I've recieved was that if I'm pointing the weapon at someone, my finger should be on the trigger. Is this not right?

ar15chase
March 22, 2009, 07:14 PM
I am also not LEO but I was trained not to have my finger on the trigger. Think about it...the officer approaches a car, gun drawn, finger on the trigger, stumbles in a pothole or other obstruction, and the gun goes off. It may sound like a stupid scenario. But it could happen. Less likley to happen with his/her finger on the trigger guard where it should be.

Brian Pfleuger
March 22, 2009, 07:18 PM
I'm not a LEO, but the limited training I've recieved was that if I'm pointing the weapon at someone, my finger should be on the trigger. Is this not right?

No, that most certainly is not right. Having your finger on the trigger invites unintentional shootings. If you need to shoot someone then the time it takes to move your finger from beside the slide to pulling the trigger is inconsequential. When you have your finger on the trigger many many things can go wrong. You could trip while moving and pull the trigger, you could be surprised by someone you wouldn't want to shoot. Being surprised tends to make you tense your muscles... pull the trigger.

Never, ever touch the trigger until you are willing to shoot someone.

Gun Safety Rules (http://www.thefiringline.com/Misc/safetyrules.html)

Keltyke
March 22, 2009, 08:00 PM
Now, I was trying to figure out, is there ever a good way to suggest to a LEO in that situation to 'please keep your finger off the trigger' without escalating things?

Take it up with his superior in a formal citizen's complaint.

Tim R
March 22, 2009, 08:15 PM
I would say something.....should been pounded into his/her head by now. The only time the finger goes on the trigger is when you are going to shoot.

Rich Miranda
March 22, 2009, 08:19 PM
...the officer approaches a car, gun drawn, finger on the trigger, stumbles in a pothole or other obstruction, and the gun goes off. It may sound like a stupid scenario. But it could happen.

Not stupid at all. This HAPPENED. An officer was removing a young man from a car when an officer behind him bumped his elbow. You know the rest...Glock goes boom, County pays out $50 million.

I'll try to dig up the link as it was some years ago.

Shane Tuttle
March 22, 2009, 08:23 PM
I'm all for the 4 rules of safety. Believe me, I get pounded on by others when I don't think the term "treat the gun as if it's loaded" is right when "all guns are always loaded" is.

However, I think some LE officers should have the chance to chime in before making rash decisions. Protocol for LE may be different.

scorpion_tyr
March 22, 2009, 08:29 PM
No, that most certainly is not right. Having your finger on the trigger invites unintentional shootings. If you need to shoot someone then the time it takes to move your finger from beside the slide to pulling the trigger is inconsequential. When you have your finger on the trigger many many things can go wrong. You could trip while moving and pull the trigger, you could be surprised by someone you wouldn't want to shoot. Being surprised tends to make you tense your muscles... pull the trigger.

Thanks for the heads up. Like I said, my training was limited and wasn't really "official". The way I have trained before is to keep my finger off the trigger until the weapon is pointed at the target. If the situation de-escalates, the weapon goes back down and the finger goes off the trigger. I'll have to look into this much more and probably re-train myself. Guess I should have asked someone a lot sooner, never really knew I was doing a no-no. Thanks once again.

To answer the opening post: Obey everything the LEO tells you to do, and when you get a chance in a calm voice, politely ask him to take his finger off the trigger. Don't get upset if he doesn't, do everything he says and complain to his boss later.

Edward429451
March 22, 2009, 09:01 PM
I had occassion to have two mp5 toting swat team guys pop out on me from flanking positions pointing them at me and both of them started saying walk this way, walk this way to me! Like I can go in two different directions! I stopped and showed open palms outstretched, and as they both approached me I told them lets keep them fingers off of them triggers can we boys, I'm not resisting...I went prone and one of them handcuffed me while the other one kept pointing it at my face with his laser on. I'm laying there all cuffed up behind my back prone on the ground and barney is still pointing his mp5 at my face. Must've been the adrenilne but I got mad! I looked up at him and said get that dam gun out of my face, can't you see I'm subdued?!!...and he flinched, releasing his finger from the trigger. I thought I was going to die. Turned out I wasn't the guy they were looking for. I'd hate to be him.

You can communicate with the officers if you adopt the correct submissive body language posture, dont move, and speak softly but loud enough for them to hear you clearly, speak slowly.

Kmar40
March 22, 2009, 09:42 PM
It's not just a Glock thing. Col Cooper used to teach it and, just prior to his death, bragged about finally seeing it commonplace in law enforcement and the military (at least with elite units with CQB training).

The problem with having your finger on the trigger is that there are many reflexes (clenching your fists, going palms out to block something, or falling and subconsciously grabbing for things) that will result in your trigger finger flexing and the gun going off. It's happened many, many times.

bub75
March 23, 2009, 12:44 AM
Well, I am a cop and a firearms trainer at my Dept to boot. I have to say, if one of my guys had someone at gunpoint, that person was compliant and they still had their finger on the trigger, I'd kick their butt up between their ears and likely cut off their stupid finger! At the very least, I would see to it that they were written up for it. That is a BLATANT safety violation and is dangerous as hell! We train ALL our guys and gals that the finger stays OFF the trigger until you are ready to pull the trigger. There is too much that can happen with a finger resting on a trigger, especially with Glocks, as most of our guys carry.

Myself, as I was complying with their orders, I would politely ask them to remove their finger from the trigger. Even if they refuse to do so, quit harping on it, you are liable to make him more uptite and increase the chance for a ND. I would, however, complain VERY loudly and VERY vocally to that Officer's superior after it is done, making sure to point out how large the lawsuit would be if they shot you, accidently or not, and you weren't the guy they were looking for. Basically, provided you survive and can convince a jury that the Officer was negligent, you could be set, financially, for the rest of your life and possibly have a city named after you!

Bub

Tim R
March 23, 2009, 06:14 AM
I was trying to be a little nicer but bub75 said it all. A few days off to think about would be in order.

We train not to point a firearm at someone unless they are about to get shot. There is a thing called the guard or low ready.

NYPD13
March 23, 2009, 06:50 AM
To be blunt, my advise is to shut up and do as your told. Commonly the criminal element uses this simple tactic(talking over commands)to distract officers in order to gain an advantage. For those of you who watch "COPS" quite often you see perps screaming "I'm not resisting" while doing just that. Same theory. If you find your self in a situation where PD is drawing on you, don't find a way to unintentionally escalate things. Compliance is always key as the true bad guys never do. Actions speak loader than words.

Wagonman
March 23, 2009, 08:14 AM
Same theory. If you find your self in a situation where PD is drawing on you, don't find a way to unintentionally escalate things. Compliance is always key as the true bad guys never do. Actions speak loader than words.

True that!

That said finger on trigger is VERBOTEN and dangerous and frankly stupid. Indexed along slide it takes a fraction of a second to be on trigger, with little chance of an "oh S**t"

buzz_knox
March 23, 2009, 08:22 AM
Not stupid at all. This HAPPENED. An officer was removing a young man from a car when an officer behind him bumped his elbow. You know the rest...Glock goes boom, County pays out $50 million.

I'll try to dig up the link as it was some years ago.


There have been many such cases, including one on video fairly recently.

MikeGoob
March 23, 2009, 09:05 AM
Im sure Ive read more than one instance in one of the gun forums but I cant find a link now.

Great input guys, thanks.

ECHOONE
March 23, 2009, 09:13 AM
If it's a routine traffic stop there should be no reason for LEO to have his Gun drawn and finger on the trigger if your following proper procedure!! If he just chased you and you didn't stop,or the car's stolen something of that magnitude well his gun should be drawn but no ones finger goes on that trigger till there ready to REALLY pull it to Stop a THREAT.... (PERIOD) any military,LEO or CCW should know that by heart or not have a pistol!!!! When Your involved in a trafffic stop turn off your car. I always have my insurance and reggy together in one spot and my license and ccw together in another,by the time hes at my window one hand is on steering wheel the other is holding all my items I ask what the problem is,offer my info and if he then takes it I Immediately advise him I'm a ccw holder I'm carrying,where gun is and have both hands at 10 and 2 on wheel waiting for his instructions, I have never had any problems,they just ask me to keep my hands where they can see them and are very polite and professional! It's all in how you interact, when you put a gun on you have a big responsibility,act like a professional your treated like you treat others,they percieve you by your actions!That simple.If you don't know the rules put the gun away in a safe place till you do.If a LEO ever had his finger on the trigger for a traffic stop I'd have his sargent notified before the encounter was over!!!Just ask for his field supervisor

mrray13
March 23, 2009, 09:29 AM
NYPD13 has said it best, IMHO. as an LEO, the last thing we want/need in a situation where we have our weapon drawn, is the subject telling us we are wrong. compliance is key and only makes you look better. especially if we are wrong! at least in illinois, even if you are wrongully detained, you have no right to resist. and yes, even verbal things can be considered/are considered resisting, depending upon the situation.


that said..two things...

1: my service weapon has been drawn countless times, never once has my finger gone straight to the trigger. that's bad training. as a matter of fact, my finger has never been on the trigger on duty unless at the range.

2: i live in illinois, no cc or oc allowed whatsoever. (well, there is a way, and it's legal, but i'll digress) and i work an interstate that is extremely busy. as my state is just one of two that doesn't allow that freedom, just about everyone i pull over is from a cc state. they are treated no different then someone from my own state. i'm alert, hand nearby firearm, but not drawn.

i've even had ccw people hand their DL and their CCW permit. i ask if the weapon is on them or close at hand. if the answer is yes, another officer is requested, without them knowing, once that officer arrives, the subject is asked to setp out of the vehicle and the location of their sidearm. if one their person, they are searched, sidearm removed, magazine/cylinder emptied, ammo/magazine handed to subject, trunk opened, sidearm placed there. if in car, same process, but search is done while subject is next to assisting officer. a quick soundex on the serial number is done to make sure it isn't stolen/ wanted.

while i can arrest them and confiscate their weapon, i won't. while it's your responsibility to make sure you are obeying our laws, i respect that you let me know ahead of time you were indeed carrying. and that's key.

if they are from my state or wisconsin, they might just get arrested, as previously mentioned, not allowed in any condition, save one.


the one video i can think of right away is the female officer who just about shoots the perp while he is being detained, face down on the ground. you can see the concrete turn to dust right next to his head. one word..idiot! here ya go!!! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJy259QvX4M)

Creature
March 23, 2009, 09:33 AM
NRA Gun Safety Rules# 2: ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

If a LEO has his/her finger on the trigger, it seems to me like he/she is ready and prepared to shoot you if necessary...

Erik
March 23, 2009, 09:37 AM
"...is there ever a good way to suggest to a LEO in that situation to 'please keep your finger off the trigger' without escalating things?"

Not really, for the reasons listed.

I'll add to them them that some agencies still train to place the finger on the trigger once the firearm is on target, and others trained their people that way for so long that despite changing the policy the practice remains in the field. Still others who have discovered the practice somewhere along the way and believe it to be more effective, a tactical advantage which will give them an edge; after all, it is "old school."

Brian Pfleuger
March 23, 2009, 09:46 AM
I'll add also that it depends on the dynamics of the situation. If the officer is really on high alert for some reason then you might make things worse. As an example, if you happen to match the description of an armed robbery suspect.

In most other cases I'd try to remember that police officers are not some weird breed of human. They are regular people just like you and me, and they make mistakes. Read the situation and act accordingly. Maybe (s)he's a rookie making a rookie (stupid) mistake, they might be thankful for your input.

Point is, they have little kids and wives and mothers too. We're not talking about someone who WANTS to shoot you, even if you are a BG.

pax
March 23, 2009, 09:56 AM
Here's a link to one such shooting. The cop involved definitely did mean to be pointing at the suspect, and definitely should not have had her finger on the trigger while doing so. Note the gun appears to be a Sig with a long heavy DA trigger.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HcvIH6GpW8

Every department I know of around here trains their LEOs to keep the finger off the trigger "until you have made the decision to fire."

Peeza ~

Good post. It really does depend on the dynamics of the situation. In a situation like the one in the link I just posted, you'd better not say a word because it'll make the situation worse. However, in a situation like I was in once, a routine traffic stop and the cop decided to disarm the driver, I as the passenger simply ducked out of the way of the waving muzzle as the cop tried to figure out how to unload the gun. I ducked, he noticed and moved away, end of story. Never had to say anything, and the dynamics weren't high-tension even if I had.

pax

Wagonman
March 23, 2009, 10:09 AM
As someone posted, I also have had my weapon out countless times but haven't had finger on trigger on duty yet---thank God.

That said, there is no such thing as routine T-Stop. If I care enough to stop you I care enough to have my weapon out, behind my right leg and finger indexed.

Mr. James
March 23, 2009, 10:52 AM
This was an "oops" shooting in Fairfax County, Virginia. Salvatore Culosi, a 37-year-old optometrist, was shot to death by a police "tactical" officer serving a warrant for bookmaking.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/25/AR2006012502245.html

Were I ever to be in the OP's suggested situation, I'd not think it the opportune time to suggest a wee bit of remedial training. I'd shut up, do as I'm told, and take it up with his supervisors after the fact.

Creature
March 23, 2009, 11:33 AM
Here's a link to one such shooting. The cop involved definitely did mean to be pointing at the suspect, and definitely should not have had her finger on the trigger while doing so. Note the gun appears to be a Sig with a long heavy DA trigger.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HcvIH6GpW8

I have seen that footage on television. It is hard to see it on youtube, but when viewed on TV, it can clearly be seen as a Beretta 92.

G-man 26
March 23, 2009, 02:55 PM
I would assume that the officer in question knows that they should not have their finger on the trigger unless ready to shoot. This would also lead to the assumption on my part that this officer is about to shoot me.

Edward429451 recounts a case of mistaken identity, involving SWAT guys with mp-5's. Yours may well have been the same thing, mistaken ID, and your officer knew exactly what they were doing, and thought you were a real BAD guy. Assume the worst, and do what you are told. You could also say a prayer that your assumptions are correct, and this cop knows what they are doing, and you come out OK to complain about the problem after the fact. If the guns are out, the time to talk is over.

pax
March 23, 2009, 03:05 PM
Creature,

Thanks.

pax

Creature
March 23, 2009, 03:07 PM
Note the gun appears to be a Sig with a long heavy DA trigger.

I should have added that Beretta 92 also has a long heavy DA trigger on them as well....

csmsss
March 23, 2009, 03:23 PM
It shouldn't make any difference what trigger mechanism the LEO's firearm uses. His/her finger shouldn't be on the trigger until AFTER he/she has made the decision to shoot, and not before then - just as for any of us. Any and sundry things can happen to us in a moment of exigency, and putting your finger inside the trigger housing is an invitation for any of them to happen.

I find it absurd that some LEO agencies teach placing the finger inside the guard prior to making the decision to shoot. That seems incredibly foolish to me.

Glenn E. Meyer
March 23, 2009, 03:55 PM
There's a similar video on a officer who does the same with an MP-5. He shoots one next to the noggin of a downed supsect. It was claimed that the suspect was still wiggling so he shot next to his head to calm him.

Might be on Youtube. It started with a nut with a knife on a roof and running around (IIRC). But I could be wrong on that.

Whiteboy67
March 23, 2009, 04:05 PM
There's a similar video on a officer who does the same with an MP-5. He shoots one next to the noggin of a downed supsect. It was claimed that the suspect was still wiggling so he shot next to his head to calm him.

Is that supposed to be a good excuse?

Glenn E. Meyer
March 23, 2009, 05:15 PM
It beats 'I'm stupid and my department skimped on my training'. Or does it?

Look at the world - do most people, step up and say - I'm stupid.

Cramer on John Stewart maybe?

JohnH1963
March 23, 2009, 07:38 PM
How long does it take for someone to draw a weapon and fire one round? About 1-2 seconds. There are guys out there that can do it in less then a second easily.

Therefore, winning the gunfight comes down to fractions of a second at times. Having your finger on the trigger is less safe, but more effective. It will save valuable milliseconds which may mean the difference between life and death.

MikeGoob
March 23, 2009, 08:08 PM
maybe that makes sense when its open war and you're in enemy territory, but for police, MOST of the time they arent in a situation where they need to fire their weapon. Like some have said, they've drawn while on duty many times but never fired.

Wagonman
March 23, 2009, 10:44 PM
On Target On Trigger

Off Target Off Trigger

roklok
March 24, 2009, 12:00 AM
I was trained by a very respected law enforcement agency that when pointed at a threat, the finger is on the trigger. If the threat is not imminent the weapon is in the "guard" position and finger is off trigger. We had this DRILLED into us. Pointed at threat.........finger ON trigger. If the threat is not real and imminent enough to warrant the finger on trigger, it is not real and imminent enough to be pointed at in the first place.

BikerRN
March 24, 2009, 03:31 AM
If you have a LEO pointing a gun at you with his or her finger on the trigger, the time to argue, correct or admonish them is not when such is occuring.

In short, complain to the administration after the situation has been resolved and you are "on your way".

Biker

Careby
March 24, 2009, 04:23 PM
In the late 80's I was in the Navy and stationed aboard a submarine tender at King's Bay, Georgia with a contingent of marines aboard providing nuclear weapons security. The marines had just been issued Beretta 9mm's to replace the 1911's they formerly carried. The 1911's had been carried with an empty chamber, but that policy changed when the Beretta 9mm's were adopted. In one security drill I was the designated "bad guy" and at the conclusion of the drill I was on the deck and surrounded by six gung-ho marines kicking and screaming at me with loaded 9mm's pointed at my head, fingers on triggers. I felt more in danger on that one day than at any other time in the ten years I served, including four years on a nuclear sub (SSBN).

grymster2007
March 24, 2009, 04:53 PM
I've had LEOs pointing guns at me, with finger on trigger, more than once and have to say it is scary. The scariest was a very young CHP officer pulled me over on a traffic stop. As he approached the window, I went for my wallet in right hip pocket. His gun came out pronto, he took a step back and started yelling for me to put my hands on the wheel. All the while, his gun was waving around. I distinctly remember the white knuckle on his trembling finger as it was hooked around the trigger.

I did not ask him to take his finger off the trigger and I think my immediate compliance, without comment might have greatly contributed to my ability to post here today. :) ... much to the chagrin of many. :p

That was a long time ago. He made mistakes and so did I. Now I wait for my ticket quietly, with my hands open-palm on the wheel. :)

Keltyke
March 24, 2009, 05:11 PM
Now I wait for my ticket quietly, with my hands open-palm on the wheel.

+1. I sit there with my hands on the wheel until I receive a command. I don't roll down the window, or reach for ANYTHING until told to do so.

armsmaster270
March 24, 2009, 07:13 PM
Time to roll down the windows is before he approaches.

Brian Pfleuger
March 24, 2009, 07:26 PM
Time to roll down the windows is before he approaches.

Yepper.

I start out by using my signals and stopping like a sane human being, as well as getting as far off the road as is practical, to give the officer plenty of room between their posterior and traffic. I roll down the window before I come to a stop. If it's night time I also turn on ALL internal lights. Shut off the radio and the engine. Hands on the wheel. When the officer makes a request, like "License and registration please." I say "Certainly, the registration is in the glove box." When I retrieve the registration, I leave the glove box open so they can see what's in there. Now that I carry, I keep my wallet where I can reach it without going anywhere near my gun and also have it in my hands when the officer approaches.

ANYTHING that you can do to give every possible indication that you are not only not a threat but in fact a friend will help you. Not just because you have a gun but also, many times, helping to prevent you from getting a ticket.

Littlehoov
March 24, 2009, 08:24 PM
Thankfully, I havent been pulled over in a while. But my standard procedure is as follows:

1. Turn car off, turn hazard lights on
2. Roll down both front windows (they are illegally tinted in my state, so I make sure this happens)
3. Optionally put keys on roof of car
4. Keep hands on steering wheel.


Now my question is this...since I turned 21, I now carry a pistol unconcealed in my car nearly all the time. What is the best thing to do in that situation?

I was thinking as the offer was approaching the car I could shout that there is a pistol lying on the front seat...but that could turn into a hairy situation....

grymster2007
March 24, 2009, 10:32 PM
TThankfully, I havent been pulled over in a while. Yeah... been a couple weeks for me too. :)

Seriously, I haven't been stopped in a long, long time, but if I am, I'll keep my hands in sight, move real slow and follow all commands immediately.

Edward429451
March 24, 2009, 10:54 PM
I've been pulled over many times over the years with an unconcealed weapon in the vehicle on the seat next to me...You don't shout I have a gun!

You keep your hands visible to them and declare the weapon in a nonchalent manner during the first exchange of conversation with them, if they don't see it first, which they almost never have.

Rich Miranda
March 25, 2009, 12:01 AM
Now my question is this...since I turned 21, I now carry a pistol unconcealed in my car nearly all the time. What is the best thing to do in that situation?

I was thinking as the offer was approaching the car I could shout that there is a pistol lying on the front seat...but that could turn into a hairy situation....

Many moons ago in CA I received security officer training (never did actually work as one though) by an LAPD officer. He taught us that if we were pulled over while armed to roll down the window ASAP. Then actually place both hands -palm down, all fingers visible- on the door (where the window comes out from), so as to be visible as the officer walked up. Then, when the officer was next to you say clearly and calmly, "Officer, I work as a security guard, and I'm carrying a firearm" without ever moving your hands. Then follow his directions.

I doubt any of those procedures were law, but they were meant to make sure everyone remained calm.