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Old November 25, 2010, 12:13 PM   #76
brickeyee
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Which, by the way, is an excellent argument for keeping the gun safe in its retention holster until it is actually needed.
The ability to draw quickly and rapidly acquire a target and fire requires constant practice.

The other problem is this would put the officer (or other person) at a distinct disadvantage since reaction time becomes a more significant factor.

The advantage of having the gun out and ready should be used.

For the most part, action defeats reaction.
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Old November 25, 2010, 12:33 PM   #77
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The key is the interpretation of "until it is actually needed."

Obviously an officer doesn't draw his gun every time he encounters a citizen just to get a leg up in terms of reaction time. Neither does he leave it holstered in the interest of avoiding a gun snatch when it's obvious that violence could be imminent.

Pulling out a gun before it's really needed raises the chances of unintentional discharges and also eliminates the security that a retention holster provides. But I'm CERTAINLY not advocating that police should try to handle obviously hazardous situations with fast-draw techniques to minimize the time the gun is out of the holster.
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Old November 25, 2010, 02:19 PM   #78
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The officer squeezed sympathetically while violating Rule 3. This is a training issue, not an equipment issue.

It was NOT a Rule 2 violation. Effecting felony arrests under the circumstances describes involves the pointing of weapons at the suspects.

Per Col. Cooper at http://dvc.org.uk/jeff/jeff6_2.html :
"Rule 2: NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO DESTROY
You may not wish to destroy it, but you must be clear in your mind that you are quite ready to if you let that muzzle cover the target. To allow a firearm to point at another human being is a deadly threat, and should always be treated as such."

--

It was NOT an inappropriate time to use a weapons mounted light. Effecting felony arrests in low light are precisely when weapon mounted lights should be used.

--

Hand held lights should be used performing administrative functions, and weapons mounted lights should be used performing tasks with deployed firearms. No weapon mounted light? Deploy your hand held with your pistol, but the used result should be the same; the light and muzzle should be aligned to the point of contact; i.e. pointed at the suspect.

Edited to insert link to Col. Cooper's Commentaries.
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Old November 25, 2010, 10:57 PM   #79
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This is a training issue, not an equipment issue.
I agree fully that it's a training issue, however I don't fully agree that it's not an equipment issue. There's room for it to be both.

I would say that it's an equipment issue that could be resolved with training. Using potentially dangerous equipment properly almost always requires some level of training. When the training is absent one can blame the lack of training for incidents, but the fact remains that if the equipment weren't potentially dangerous there would be no need for training.

Some may see that as splitting hairs, but my point is that it's a bad idea to discount the fact that putting a light on a gun creates an easily foreseeable tendency of the person using the light to use it improperly/unsafely. That tendency is precisely why people who use weapon-mounted lights need to train to use them safely.
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It was NOT an inappropriate time to use a weapons mounted light.
Correct. It was an appropriate time to have a weapon mounted light, it's just that the officer obviously did not use the light safely.
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Deploy your hand held with your pistol, but the used result should be the same...
Yes and no. Yes, ultimately the light will end up pointed at the suspect, but the gun may or may not end up pointed at the suspect depending on the officer's assessment of the suspect's threat to him and others.

Second difference is that when using a separate light, the light is not activated by the hand with the trigger finger on it.

I think it's reasonably safe to say that had the officer been using a separate light, this incident would not have occurred.
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Old November 26, 2010, 12:08 AM   #80
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Maybe, maybe not. Sympathetic responses resulting in unintentional discharges have been documented with hand held light as well. When amped up, many folks squeeze. That's fine, so long as no Rule 3 violation is in play. And how do you condition to not violate Rule 3? One answer, and one answer only: training.
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Old November 26, 2010, 10:04 AM   #81
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"Sympathetic responses resulting in unintentional discharges have been documented with hand held light as well. When amped up, many folks squeeze. That's fine, so long as no Rule 3 violation is in play. And how do you condition to not violate Rule 3? One answer, and one answer only: training. "

Trying to 'train out' something pretty inherent in human anatomy when there are other solutions available is a pipe dream.

The design of using the hand holding a firearm to also turn the light on and off is just asking for trouble like this (and even the other hand with a similar motion would create sympathetic movement).

A Fairfax county SWAT officer shot a suspect while serving a warrant a little while ago when the door of his car bounced back towards him as he exited after opening it.

He had a finger on the trigger, and the action of trying to grasp the door resulted in him firing and striking a suspect.

The CA decided it did not rise to the level of negligence to issue any charges under Virginia law.

Civil suits for wrongful death are going forward though.

Instead of trying to train out 'normal' body actions, a better choice of methods for controlling the light should be pursued.
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Old November 26, 2010, 10:50 AM   #82
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No lights going on any of my guns. I never liked the idea in the first place and this confirms for me that its a bad idea.
If this incident confirms that lights on guns are a bad idea, sympathetic response discharges would confirm that doing just about anything with the weak hand while the strong hand controls a loaded gun is a bad idea.

Heck, given the police incidents of shooting people with guns instead of tasers indicates that just having a gun in your duty holster at the time you need to deploy your taser is a bad idea.
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Old November 26, 2010, 01:45 PM   #83
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"Trying to 'train out' something pretty inherent in human anatomy when there are other solutions available is a pipe dream."

You can't train out the squeeze, but you can train out what and where you squeeze; if your finger is indexed on the frame and remains there, squeeze away. Squeezing= not bad. Squeezing with your finger on the trigger= bad.

"The design of using the hand holding a firearm to also turn the light on and off is just asking for trouble like this (and even the other hand with a similar motion would create sympathetic movement)."

I disagree. Weapons mounted lights are activated an untold number of times (lets call it a large number for arguments sake) on a daily basis without incident. The incidents which do occur, when they occur, are always attributed to Rule 3 violations and carelessness and/or lack of familiarity/training.
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Old November 26, 2010, 04:00 PM   #84
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The incidents which do occur, when they occur, are always attributed to Rule 3 violations and carelessness and/or lack of familiarity/training.
Do you bring an unloaded weapon to a possible fight?

What third rule are you referring to?

If by third rule you mean finger off the trigger, if you clench your finger can slip.

There are numerous other ways to turn on weapon mounted light besides using finger pressure.
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Old November 26, 2010, 07:02 PM   #85
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That would be the one; the one where you keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire. It is pretty much Gospel in the firearms community. You don't believe its an absolute. Fine. Start another thread and see how many rally to your cause. While you;re at it, take on the other three rules. Good luck.

Me? Its a rule. And its a training issue.
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Old November 26, 2010, 09:05 PM   #86
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A fascinating topic, and the depth of discussion on the level that brings one back here. Kudos to all involved!

A viable take on the theme would be to acknowledge the weapon-mounted light to be a valuable addition to the arsenal of the well-tempered pistolero, but IMHO always secondary to a separate, primary light operated with the weak hand.

I'd like to argue that the weapon-mounted light should only be lit when actually firing the weapon, whereas the primary light should be used for everything else up to that point, and afterwards.

There should be a selection of techniques for using the primary light at the operator's disposal. The principle should mostly be to aim to distract any potential threats in the vicinity while gathering information - flash, register what was there while already changing position, angle and disposition. The pistol would be held strong-hand only in positions varying from a compressed readiness position close to the shooter's rib cage or chin level, out to an almost ready-to-shoot position where the weapon is only slightly lowered from sight picture index so as to avoid the Rule 3 violation and to optimally avoid obscuring one's field of view with it.

The primary light could be deployed in a belt holster or ring at first, but for a subsequent presentation it should already be hand-held and its deployment orientation varied. A small flashlight could very well have a wrist lanyard but a large baton-type torch not. The assumption is that if an imminent threat is identified, the primary light may be discarded as the weapon is deployed, using the weapon-mounted light and probably going for a two-handed firing grip. The lanyard on a small tactical light will allow for falling back to the primary for further scanning for threats as the smoke clears, always flashing instantly and changing position and orientation immediately.

There are many assumptions these thoughts are based on, which may not be unambiguous. Please point out any obvious flaws in this thinking!
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Old November 26, 2010, 09:28 PM   #87
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I like how its easy to judge a mistake after its done. as a police officer (trooper) I like to tell the public "if you had the chance to do this job for a day you would give it back as fast as you could". a lot of people on this forum that aren't LE own guns for either hunting/target or self defense. and in your hole life you are 99.99% unlikely to use it for the latter. A police officer uses it every day. they may not shoot it every day but it is there and it is a part of you. With good training, adaptation, and experience mistakes or improper impulses can be avoided but not completely.
YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS LIKE TO STOP SOMEONE WITH A GUN THAT WILL KILL YOU. and be thankful of that and that there are police that risk all for you. monday night quarterbacking something that you have no idea of what actually happened or that you weren't there for is assinine. play it off in your head on what you would do if a drug dealer or mugger was holding a gun on you....and then step back and realize that you will be scared. your heart will beat out of your chest. your motor functions become basic only. you think about your family. you get tunnel vision, and if you are a police officer you still have to make the right decision in a split second so that the world can quarterback you for years.
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Old November 26, 2010, 09:33 PM   #88
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...so that the world can quarterback you for years.
That's not the point of this thread. The point is that when mistakes are made it's important to learn from them so as to not repeat them.

Nobody benefits if we all just have a feelgood session and end it by holding hands and saying something like: "Well, it's a hard job and he was trying so let's all agree that he did everything right and leave it at that."

Experience is an excellent teacher, but I'm not going to live long enough to be able to learn everything I need to know by experience. So I try to learn from others whenever possible.
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Old November 26, 2010, 10:59 PM   #89
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With the exception of pest eradication, I don't use a weapon-mounted light.

First, it defeats an old training mantra which has held fast with me for thirty years: "Off target, OFF trigger. On target, ON trigger." This means that (time permitting) you challenge at low ready and if the gun must come up, the finger is on the trigger and firing commences as soon as the sights are blocked. The essential element here is that I'm not going to point a gun at anybody I can't shoot and if I do have to point a gun at them, only the grace of God or their immediate disarmament, cessation and surrender will save them.

There are a lot of people I will shine a light on, and few people who just might make me shoot them. Those categories are not routinely interchangeable. So I'll keep the gun and light separate- as specific tools for specific jobs. To me, it's worth any added effort on my part to insure that I can use them individually--or collectively--to solve the myriad of problems which might arise before calling out 10-42 for the night.

PS- The above is from a cop's perspective. Boys who kick in doors with camels parked outside can use any damn thing they want- and do it with my blessing.
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Old November 27, 2010, 10:18 AM   #90
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The dangers of a job or the bravery of those who do the job does not mean we have to be stupid about human factors issues that generate errors.

Nor does ranting about such aid the discussion. In fact, understanding the stresses of the job is important in preventing incidents. They do not mean we don't study such.

Emotional responses are useless if they preclude reasoned analyses, mature individuals should be able to get beyond such.
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Old November 27, 2010, 10:41 AM   #91
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Anyone who manufactures weapons or accessories for weapons has to design them to be fool-proof. What does that mean? It means the flashlight must be designed in such a manner that even an untrained fool can operate it safely.

You can train someone all day long on the flashlight, but if the flashlight was not designed properly then the point is moot.
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Old November 27, 2010, 10:54 AM   #92
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hat would be the one; the one where you keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire. It is pretty much Gospel in the firearms community. You don't believe its an absolute. Fine. Start another thread and see how many rally to your cause.
How the hell did you extract that BS from anything I said?

Sympathetic clenching is a function of human anatomy.

While keeping your finger off the trigger IS a training issue, things that cause sympatheitc clenching can contribute to unintended finger movement.

Is that so hard to comprehend?

Why even have something that can contribute?
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Old November 27, 2010, 11:34 AM   #93
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It was NOT a Rule 2 violation. Effecting felony arrests under the circumstances describes involves the pointing of weapons at the suspects.
Even if this is written somewhere, it's still wrong. Felony arrests, depending on the circumstances and statutes, can be DUI arrests; dogmatic generalisms are a crutch, and not generally wise.


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Old November 27, 2010, 03:40 PM   #94
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Anyone who manufactures weapons or accessories for weapons has to design them to be fool-proof. What does that mean? It means the flashlight must be designed in such a manner that even an untrained fool can operate it safely.
That's impossible to do for anything that involves an operational firearm.

A good designer can take steps to make a product as safe as reasonably possible, but making it fool-proof enough for an untrained fool to operate safely is an unattainable goal.

Somewhere you have to find a balance. A design that involves tightening the second finger of the shooting hand in a motion virtually identical to the motion that the first finger of the shooting hand makes to fire the gun is probably a bad idea. So there's some room for improvement in that respect.

However, even with a good design, there are considerations that need to be addressed via training before kicking an LEO (or CCW'ing citizen) out the front door with a weapon light attached to his gun.
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Old November 27, 2010, 05:41 PM   #95
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"Even if this is written somewhere, it's still wrong. Felony arrests, depending on the circumstances and statutes, can be DUI arrests; dogmatic generalisms are a crutch, and not generally wise."

Note you quoted something from me that contained "under the circumstances described."

(Yes, I just noted the spelling error.)

Birkeyee,
You seem to be correlating sympathetic responses with Rule 3 violations. I do not correlate them. Once the rule is violated, there is certainly a correlation between sympathetic responses and negligent discharges. But... that correlation only manifests subsequent to a training breakdown, one which should NEVER occur in the first place.

We might just have to disagree, kind of like I'll probably have to end up disagreeing with folks who don't feel weapons should be pointed at some bad guys, some of the time, during arrests.
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Old November 27, 2010, 06:00 PM   #96
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The Four Rules are the Four Rules, by the way, regardless of who you are and your occupation. The civilians (don't) have one set, LEOs another, and military personnel a third are missing the point. Safe is safe, after all.

The rules that are be different, depending on the circumstances? The rules of engagement; i.e. when, why, where and how. That necessarily effects Rule 2, but does not change it.

Edited to include that don't. And then I separated the two thoughts.
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Old November 28, 2010, 04:00 AM   #97
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I am another that has not gone to the weapon light camp I prefer a hand held light and hand held gun in the other hand.
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Old November 28, 2010, 10:05 AM   #98
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You seem to be correlating sympathetic responses with Rule 3 violations. I do not correlate them. Once the rule is violated, there is certainly a correlation between sympathetic responses and negligent discharges.
You can end up with a rule 3 violation FROM the sympathetic response.

That is why the entire setup is an accident waiting to happen.
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Old November 28, 2010, 11:21 AM   #99
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And when it occurs sans light? No excuse. The community's verdict condemning the lack of discipline would likely be unanimous.

With light? No excuse. The community's verdict should be the same.
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Old November 28, 2010, 11:22 AM   #100
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Erik, sorry to have misquoted you. But I still disagree:
Quote:
The Four Rules are the Four Rules, by the way, regardless of who you are and your occupation. The civilians have one set, LEOs another, and military personnel a third are missing the point. Safe is safe, after all. The rules that are be different, depending on the circumstances? The rules of engagement; i.e. when, why, where and how. That necessarily effects Rule 2, but does not change it.
I cannot understand this point. Either the four rules are the four rules for everyone, or they are not. You seem to be saying either that:

Military and police can ignore specific rules at specific times-

or

There are a different set of rules for different operators-

Either way, I disagree. When you point guns at people you're not trying to kill, you're PLANNING on accidental shootings. With all the training and all the discussion that's gone back and forth, let's remember one thing; what prompted this thread was a police officer shooting someone he didn't mean to. And while not exactly 'commonplace', it's not anywhere near an isolated incident.

I have been faced with potentially deadly threats. I was trained to have my gun pointed at anyone I thought could be a threat, and that's what I did when I first became an LEO. As my training progressed, and I started to realize the moral, legal and strategic drawbacks (police are charged with 'reckless endangerment' for pointing guns at people in many jurisdictions, and your jurisdiction is one sharp lawyer away from doing so, BTW) of doing that, I changed the way I handled those situations.

What eventually came about was that I realized that as a protector of the public, ignoring basic rules of firearms safety couldn't be supported in any sense; I had to be at least as safe with my firearm handling as a non-LEO, and that meant not pointing my gun at someone I wasn't going to shoot.

Others will do it differently. Others may go their entire career without having an ND that brings them into the news, court or a higher judgment. I know that I absolutely WILL NOT endanger a person who is not an immediate threat to my life by pointing a loaded gun at them, regardless of where I think my finger is at the time-it's irresponsible. I think in time, it will be shown to be criminal as well.

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