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Old November 21, 2010, 12:53 AM   #26
JohnKSa
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So a cop pointing their gun at a DG is breaking one of the rules of safety? I don't think so, if the good guy is okay with destroying the BG it seems appropriate to me.
I think that the emphasis added makes it plain that you two don't actually differ.

Somewhere you have to draw the line. If you intend to shoot or are convinced that an imminent threat exists such that you may have to shoot on very short notice then pointing a gun at someone is not breaking the basic rules of firearm safety. Pointing a gun at someone merely because they could possibly pose a threat is a different story.
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Old November 21, 2010, 01:58 AM   #27
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Just another gadget that complicates the situation. Man, I hit the wrong keys a LOT while typing. What if I hit the wrong button, especially when stressed. OPPS a dead guy!
i'll take a lot of heat for this, but I've never bought into gun mounted lights or lasers. What if the BG is behind cover and waiting for you with minimal exposure of his gun and head? Don't you think that he'll shot at the light?

The gun rags push this stuff hard to make sales. I think that it's propaganda. So let me have it , but that's the way I see it.
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Old November 21, 2010, 08:18 AM   #28
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You're completely misunderstanding the 'willing to destroy' component of the firearms rules; it equates, in this usage, to 'trying to shoot.'

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So a cop pointing their gun at a DG is breaking one of the rules of safety? I don't think so, if the good guy is okay with destroying the BG it seems appropriate to me. So it seems DT that you have more training than I do according to your post, yet I've been in a stressful situation and I didn't seems to have a problem not shooting the kid who broke into my house. Just like I was trained to do, yet I was willing to destroy my target if needed.
See that part I bolded? It means that, during that encounter, you were NOT willing to destroy your target; the necessity had not yet arisen (and you were most likely correct and within the law doing what you did.)

Were you 'willing to destroy' someone not posing a deadly threat to you? Was this police officer 'willing to destroy' this suspect? It doesn't seem so in the officer's case, and I suspect you weren't in yours. 'Willingness to destroy' in not a condition of mindset, but a consideration of the totality of the circumstances you're presented with.

And in general, anytime someone actually GETS SHOT one of the rules of firearms safety was broken. Cops just seem to (sometimes) get a pass on the initial judgment to point a gun at someone not currently posing a threat to their life.

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Old November 21, 2010, 09:02 AM   #29
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A light is an inanimate object. If you can't blame a gun for shooting someone, how can you then blame a light for the same thing?
When you kill somebody negligently, you want to blame any and every thing other than yourself.

As noted, there have been several ballistic Taser shootings. Despite the tasers being different colored, worn on the weakhand side, different in weight than a handgun, seveal officers have drawn their handguns and shot suspects and claimed that they meant to draw their tasers.

Strangely, you don't hear about officers trying to handcuffs suspects with walkie talkies or with batons, but I guess that is because nobody usually dies when that happens.

Quote:
I'd have to agree with DT Guy. It seems most police departments have adopted an almost "shoot first, ask questions later" policy when it comes to pointing loaded firearms at people. And, unfortunately, it can lead to incidents like this.
No doubt they want to be sure, based in part on historical and/personal history, that they want to make sure that they are as ready to be able to shoot as possible in such a situation. They are putting their safety ahead of the arrest/detainee.
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Old November 21, 2010, 10:05 AM   #30
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I'd have to agree with DT Guy. It seems most police departments have adopted an almost "shoot first, ask questions later" policy when it comes to pointing loaded firearms at people. And, unfortunately, it can lead to incidents like this.
The scrutiny applied to police shootings is greater than at any time in history, so I'm not sure where you get the idea that police officers "shoot first, ask questions later."


Quote:
No doubt they want to be sure, based in part on historical and/personal history, that they want to make sure that they are as ready to be able to shoot as possible in such a situation. They are putting their safety ahead of the arrest/detainee.
I'm not sure if you're speaking positively or negatively about the police putting their safety first, but that is what they are trained to do. They first consider their safety, then the safety of the general public, then the safety of criminal suspects.

I'm not sure where DT Guy wants the police to point their guns when they are involved in a critical incident with a likely armed suspect, because I don't think the Starsky & Hutch pose is acceptable. Maybe the police are supposed to leave their guns holstered until they are absolutely sure of a deadly force threat, and then practice their quick draw <rolls eyes>.

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Old November 21, 2010, 11:27 AM   #31
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DT Guy "See that part I bolded? It means that, during that encounter, you were NOT willing to destroy your target; the necessity had not yet arisen (and you were most likely correct and within the law doing what you did.)"

That is not true, I was willing to if I had to. Someone broke into my house, I don't know his intentions. If his intentions are to harm my family or myself then I will do what I have to to destroy him.

DT Guy "You're completely misunderstanding the 'willing to destroy' component of the firearms rules; it equates, in this usage, to 'trying to shoot.'"

Not true either. The rules says don't point your gun at something you are not willing to destroy.


JohnKSa "I think that the emphasis added makes it plain that you two don't actually differ."

Maybe so. I'm not shooting I'm just offering to if they decided to escalate the situation.

After my encounter with my BG I called my instructor and thanked them. I was nervous as all get out, if I hadn't taken the time to be responsible and train there is a very good chance I would have shot. I was glad I didn't have to. I also think that just having a gun in hand as appose to point it at someone, have very different effects on who is on the other end. I feel that pointing can end the situation more often than not pointing it.
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Old November 21, 2010, 11:32 AM   #32
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It's interesting when reading people arguing that one should just follow the rules, to see that they have little knowledge of the human factors error literature.

It's been shown lots of times, that design flaws that channel folks into errors overwhelm chanting the rules.

It's called an affordance. Donald Norman has a great book with examples.
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Old November 21, 2010, 11:35 AM   #33
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Strangely, you don't hear about officers trying to handcuffs suspects with walkie talkies or with batons, but I guess that is because nobody usually dies when that happens.
I have watched more than one shooter frantically trying to shove his flashlight into an empty magazine well during the very mild stress of a timed shooting event for score.

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Old November 21, 2010, 11:43 AM   #34
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It's been shown lots of times, that design flaws that channel folks into errors overwhelm chanting the rules.
More to the point, I think: the rules both exist and overlap for a critical reason. That's because humans make mistakes. Every human makes mistakes.

The rules serve to provide a safety net for predictable and understandable human mistakes. But they can't provide that safety net unless people follow them even during critical incidents.

During a critical incident, the likelihood of you really needing that safety net is greatly increased -- and that's the time when people most often find ways to justify throwing the safety net away.

For example, many proponents of weapon-mounted handgun lights fully intend to point their weapons at unidentified people; that is, at people who might turn out to be beloved family members rather than intruders. These proponents justify this plan by saying that this is the most efficient way to identify the target and be prepared to shoot it if necessary. But under stress is the one time you are most likely to experience the unintentional discharge and fire a shot you didn't intend to fire, and thus it is the time when you are most well-served to follow the safety rule of not pointing the firearm at anyone you aren't willing to shoot.

If you're not willing to shoot a family member, your critical incident plan should not include pointing your firearm at people you haven't yet identified -- even if there is a light hanging off the end of it.

Worth thinking about ...

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Old November 21, 2010, 11:54 AM   #35
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pax "If you're not willing to shoot a family member, your critical incident plan should not include pointing your firearm at people you haven't yet identified -- even if there is a light hanging off the end of it".

I completely agree with this, on one of my posts I mentioned a "free standing" flashlight and that is there for this reason. I may have a light on my gun but I still follow the rules that I have learned.
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Old November 21, 2010, 01:16 PM   #36
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"If you're not willing to shoot a family member, your critical incident plan should not include pointing your firearm at people you haven't yet identified -- even if there is a light hanging off the end of it".
Agree 100%. The weapon mounted light is part of the firearm, and the firearm shouldn't be pointed for the benefit of using the light. My search technique incorporates a second light. The benefit of a weapon mounted is when I do intend to point the firearm.

Another advantage I see to the weapon mounted light is when a second light might be lost because physical confrontation with an attacker. A law enforcement example would be a night time traffic contact. Imagine flashlight tucked under the arm, ticket book in hand at the drivers window as the driver opens fire on you. Startle-flinch will likely cost you the flashlight under your arm, and having a weapon mounted light can be a benefit when returning fire. For the armed citizen, imagine checking your residence because of a "bump in the night" that doesn't warrant calling police, and finding yourself engaged in a physical struggle with an intruder. You may likely loose your flashlight, and if you are able to retain your weapon and clear yourself from your attacker, a weapon mounted light would serve you well.
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Old November 21, 2010, 02:27 PM   #37
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This is the same thing as using a rifle scope as binoculars to hunt with instead of binoculars. People do this all the time, but it breaks the firearms rules and is a wonderful way to get yourself shot if you do it to the wrong person, or shoot something you don't want to.

I was listening to a podcast a while ago with Massad talking about revolvers and double action only trigger jobs. He basically argues that defensive revolvers need to be converted to DAO both by removing the hammer spur and the single action notch so that it could not physically be cocked. He had several examples of accidental shootings because of 1) improper training (the cop was told to cock the hammer for a 'critical' shot - the cop interpreted that as 'important' not 'precision/long range') 2) accidental (the revolver got cocked by catching on clothing before the draw) 3) habitual (in the heat of the moment, the cop cocked the hammer because that how he practiced some times). Then, with adrenaline running through you and loss of fine motor skills, and having to do things while holding the gun, it becomes too easy to discharge the gun. We have sympathetic reflexes between fingers and between our hands (grab a flashlight with one hand and the other one might squeeze as well). We might get nudged or be shaking so badly our fingers can't stay steady.

What I came away with from that podcast is that while we should strive to meet the four rules, when the hammer falls (pun intended) we react and our training may not be enough. So, knowing what might happen during an actual fight, what can we do to maximize our success and minimize any potential negative consequences? This convinced me that my carry revolver will be DAO and have a reasonable but very smooth trigger (not super light).

Crimson trace lasers have always intrigued me in that their switch is activated be the middle finger. But, in the heat of the moment if you were holding a person at gun point (and that very well may happen in a defensive use of a hand gun) and needed to activate the laser, you could wind up pulling the trigger. (I know, keep finger off trigger - that advice won't console the family of the dead person). I think that for CT lasers, if I had one, I would never train to activate/deactivate the laser. If you have a grip on the gun the laser should just be on - and that needs to be taken into consideration when selecting CT grips. Do you want a laser activated every time the gun is in your hand? For a carry weapon, maybe, for a home defense weapon, no. So, maybe, as cool as CT grips are, we shouldn't really be putting them on home defense guns. Just a thought.

It's the same thing with weapon mounted lights. When used correctly, you should never have to point the firearm at someone to illuminate them - there's enough spread in most of them that you should be able to identify someone by holding the gun in low ready position. But, in the heat of the moment, where the fight might last 2-3 seconds top, are you so sure of yourself that you aren't going to point the gun at the person to identify him? After thinking about it for 2 seconds and being honest with myself, my answer is that although I would love to say I wouldn't point the pistol at them, I can't be certain. The reason is that I've been using flashlights (handheld) since I was tiny and I've learned to point the beam of light at whatever I'm looking at. How do you condition that out of someone to the point of 100% confidence?

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Old November 21, 2010, 02:42 PM   #38
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I'm not sure where DT Guy wants the police to point their guns when they are involved in a critical incident with a likely armed suspect, because I don't think the Starsky & Hutch pose is acceptable. Maybe the police are supposed to leave their guns holstered until they are absolutely sure of a deadly force threat, and then practice their quick draw <rolls eyes>.
Surely you've heard of 'low-ready'? You know, where the gun is nearly-but NOT-pointed at the person you have not yet decided you need to kill? Where you're slightly more than a muscle-twitch away from killing someone you have no legal or moral justification for killing?


Of course, if you can't move from low ready to COM quickly and competently, I guess you'll be a little worried-ROLLSEYES.

Being 'ready' and having a gun pointed directly at someone are not equivalent concepts, despite the poor training and improper mind-set some police have been imbued with. And if you're 'protecting' the public by shooting them, you might want to stop arguing for your methodology and start making some changes.

Take a look at Houston PD's accidental shooting rate, as an example. (It's probably not a lot worse than any other big city's, it's just that some high profile accidental shootings by police mean a great deal of discovery has been done into that department.) When you've got 5 'accidental' shootings in one year (2003), a rational person would start looking for the flaws in the system.

And Comn Cents: one last time. You WEREN'T 'willing to destroy' the person you were aiming the gun at-otherwise you'd have been shooting at him. You were prepared to respond, and willing to use deadly force if called for; an entirely different level of threat and response. Again, it's not about mindset, it's about your judgment of the circumstances. If you were truly willing to destroy the intruder, you'd have been just as happy to have shot him as to have waited.

If we can accept that there are problems with the current tactics-and stories like this, which are by no means isolated, serve to prove that is the case-why do so many people try to argue for the failed tactics?

Easy-change is HARD.


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Old November 21, 2010, 03:19 PM   #39
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DT Guy "If you were truly willing to destroy the intruder, you'd have been just as happy to have shot him as to have waited."

So you know what I am WILLING TO DO?
Willing to do doesnt mean doing!

I'm willing to go skydiving that means I'm willing to do it.
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Old November 21, 2010, 03:28 PM   #40
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OK-I officially give up.


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Old November 21, 2010, 03:49 PM   #41
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"I am the ONLY one here professional enough to use this surefire weapon mounted BAAANG!!......"
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Old November 21, 2010, 09:25 PM   #42
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DT GUY beat me to the draw with the "low ready" post. My training is to go to low ready, finger off trigger (of course) and, if situation deteriorates, to COM or even pelvic area.

From what I gathered reading the article, the officer was concerned that the drug dealer, being a convicted felon, might be armed. He had every right to have his weapon drawn but should have been in low ready and this incident may have been avoided.
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Old November 21, 2010, 10:18 PM   #43
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How about simply aiming low while scanning and identifing the threat. Gun lights are extremely bright.
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Old November 21, 2010, 11:48 PM   #44
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This story brings up another issue that many people don't like to discuss. If the illumination switch can be so easily confused with a pistol trigger, then it seems to me that the trigger poundage is too light. The Surefire switch requires low pressure to activate so if the trigger was noticeably heavier, this could provide the mental warning that an accidental discharge was about to occur and the shooter would have a chance to rethink firing the gun.

There may be some advantages to a lighter trigger but I think that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. During an adrenaline surge of a self defense incident, a light trigger can be a serious liability and a heavier trigger does not hinder the defensive effort. This point seems to be often overlooked in accidental discharge cases.
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Old November 22, 2010, 12:20 AM   #45
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Massad Ayoob argues this point that even if the user of a handgun with a light trigger is so perfrectly trained never to put his finger on the trigger, etc, that a heavier trigger is still warranted because an unscrupulous DA will argue that a SD shooting as actually an AD (light trigger) and get you on manslaughter. I didn't believe him at first until he started pulling out the court cases (man, that guy can reference cases all day - that's one reason I actually am starting to listen to his advise. He actually backs up what he says.).
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Old November 22, 2010, 10:39 AM   #46
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I don't like PISTOL mounted light for this reason... as well as the fact that you're blinded by muzzle smoke the second you fire the first shot.

Hand held lights are better in both areas for me.
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Old November 22, 2010, 10:45 AM   #47
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demigod "fact that you're blinded by muzzle smoke the second you fire the first shot"

I'd like to hear the story on how you are blinded by "muzzle smoke".
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Old November 22, 2010, 11:57 AM   #48
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I'm not liking the location of that on/off switch. Could be wrong, but I don't think any amount of training can make your index and middle fingers completely independent. There will be situations when trigger slack is taken up on already identified subject, when a shot isn't necessary but white light is, perhaps to determine if the subject is actually armed or to identify anything behind the target.

That said, I don't blame Surefire. The switch itself didn't cause the negligent discharge, there was no equipment failure. The shooter decided that the particular item was what he wanted to use, and in doing so took on the responsibility of using it safely. Unfortunately, local and state police departments don't have the budgets to do even rudimentary test and evaluation, human factors evaluation, or other reliability/safety studies on commercial off-the-shelf equipment their operators may purchase and employ on duty. If they did, issues such as this may be identified in test rather than in the field.

I think we need to define "lighter" and "heavier" trigger. Is 3.5# light, and 5.5# heavy? There's so much variation, and different people have different hand strength. To me, 5.5# is fine. To a 125lb female who is a perfectly competent officer but just has small hands, 5.5# might degrade her accuracy.
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Old November 22, 2010, 12:13 PM   #49
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How about whatever comes stock with the gun? Glocks are standard 5.5-6#. Frankly, I can't see anyone on a police force not being able to master a 8# trigger with good training. 8#s is about what a very nicely tuned defensive revolver is, IMO and as long as the action is smooth, that's very workable, IMO.
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Old November 22, 2010, 01:02 PM   #50
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So glad to see this thread.

I step on a lot of experts toes when I object to lights on guns, long or short, because the experts wax eloquent about how you can light up your target without actually pointing at your target...all theoretical, of course.

I cannot bring myself to point a weapon at anyone, middle of the night or otherwise, that hasn't brought the possibility of causing me death or great bodily harm my way.

So I give up some reaction time knowingly. I am at a disadvantage because I am reacting to another person's actions.

I do my best to accommodate for this by practicing regularly and going to training courses to hone my skills. But I would rather be shot by a bad guy than negligently shoot an innocent person.
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