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Old September 2, 2011, 12:53 PM   #1
TylerD45ACP
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The April 11, 1986 FBI Miami SHOOTOUT

Lets use this shootout as a tactical tool on TFL. I have been EXTREMELY interested in this shootout ever since I heard about it. I have read W. French Anderson, M.D.'s book on the shootout more than once and it provides an extremely detailed forensic analysis. I recommend buying the book. The part of this shootout that is so incredible was the ability of the Agents and BG's to continue on in dire straits. Especially Platt, the man responsible for two FBI deaths (R.I.P.--Ben Grogan and Jerry Dove). He was taking round after round yet continuing on in the fight. His right arm was barely working yet he fired his Mini 14 by placing his hand in the trigger guard after pressing it to his shoulder. One agent shot Matix the other BG with a shattered hand from a .223; another fired 00 Buck 1 handed because his forearm was shattered. He eventually ended the scenario with his .38. (Theres too much to explain so if you dont know about it read up if interested) I thought this was impressive. I started the thread so we could use the knowledge of the firefight and make comments on it. Im sure some people on here have read this book and if you havent, it's great. I would just like to have a discussion about the shootout and thoughts on it so Grogan and Dove's deaths were not in vain. What have we learned from it, I just want to get a good discussion about this Shootout going.

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Old September 2, 2011, 02:00 PM   #2
Buzzcook
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Search the forum and you'll find several threads that deal with the subject.

imho poor planning and bad luck caused the deaths of two good men.

The controversy over hand gun ammo misses the point.

If the intent was to ram and pin a vehicle, larger vehicles should have been used. If you don't know how well your suspect is armed, your team should be as heavily armed as possible. Each pair should have had a long gun, rifles as well as shotguns.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1986_FBI_Miami_shootout
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Old September 2, 2011, 02:08 PM   #3
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Whenever a "first" happens it catches folks off guard as this one did. They reacted quickly and the BGs were dispatched. Next time they will be ready and will have proper equipment it seems.
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Old September 2, 2011, 02:12 PM   #4
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Definitley and they did but one was in the back seat of an Agents car. I dont understand why it wasnt used immediatley and up front. I mean the guy fired his revolver before being hit. He should have used the shotgun but that isnt how it played out. I guess you are right its been discussed times before. I wanted to put a different spin on in like applying it to today for an unsuspecting group of LEO's surrounding two suspects they think arent as violent as they are going to be. Or how officer or SD shooters should deal with violent determined men like Platt that just wont seem to be stopped. I am just interested in the subject because of the sheer determination of everyone. Any responses are welcome but it had kind of been talked out like you said.
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Old September 2, 2011, 02:13 PM   #5
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Just wondering - did that shootout have anything to do with the 1986 machinegun ban?
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Old September 2, 2011, 02:21 PM   #6
TylerD45ACP
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No Platt's Mini 14 was semi-automatic. That had something to do with firearm regualtions as far back as 1934 and updating them. I think that was just some political BS.

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Old September 2, 2011, 05:42 PM   #7
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I too have studied the Miami F.B.I. shoot out, and have been lucky enough to have developed a casual, internet, friendship with one of the agents, (he will remain nameless), and who was involved in the fight. In any discussion of this nature we must never forget that two very brave men lost their lives that morning, and every other agent involved acted with the greatest courage.

All of the agents in the stop were aware that the BG.’s were armed with extraordinary weapons and in the past had shown a willingness to use these weapons. The agents on scene had backup with full auto weapons in rout, but the ETA of these agents was 4 – 6 minutes. As the agents and the BG.s’ were approaching the Dixie highway a very busy roadway, to avoid endangering civilians, the agents made the decision to make the felony stop in the residential area.

In preparation for the upcoming fight two of the agents had removed their service weapons from their holsters placing the weapons on the car seat; I don’t understand the rationale behind this, and in the collision that started the fight both agents weapons were knocked off the seat and the agents had to fight armed only with 5 shot 38 special revolvers. Agent Grogen, who was extremely near sited, lost his glasses in the initial crash and for all intents and proposes was never in the fight.

Both of the BG’s sustained what should have been fight ending wounds in the initial exchange of gun fire; do to reasons that are still unknown, both were able to remain in the fight. I believe it’s’ important to note that autopsy reports of both BG.’s indicated that neither had either drugs or alcohol in their systems when they died.

Yes I do believe that some mistakes were made? Yes, but I was not there and I do though know how quickly the best of plans can quickly go awry. If the agents were armed with more powerful handguns would the fight ended sooner, if one of the agents who had access to a shotgun had been able to get it into action sooner would the outcome have been different? We will never know for sure. The one thing we do know is all of agents upheld the highest traditions expected of those who chose to devote their lives to protect us.

Have good and safe Labor Day weekend all,

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Old September 2, 2011, 10:46 PM   #8
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Nice post old bear, thanks. That is cool that you are a friend of one of the agents. I have the utmost respect for LEO's thats why I put R.I.P. Ben Grogan and Jerry Dove. What they did that day no one can ask more off and that is give the ultimate sacrifice. I kind of wanted to start this thread to help LEO's/Civillians learn so Agents Grogan and Dove's deaths were not in vain. Also to realize the capabilities of a determined human being, and how to deal with it in a SD situation. All I know is under the circumstances which were basically, SHTF for the FBI from the get, the agents performed with due resolve. After the stop it was a free for all and each of these agents played a part in stopping these two men. I think they did one heck of a job with the cards they had. Imagine if Dove didnt hit Platt with the shot through his arm/chest, things could have been a lot worse. That wound didnt incapaciate him but sure made him less functional and was ultimatley fatal. What if McNeill didn't hit Matix, even after having a shattered hand, Matix could have still been in the fight. I just think it is amazing what both parties were able to accomplish. Im glad Edmundo Mireles, even after a shattered forearm with a .223, charged their car and ended it under great duress himself. To all the agents involved thank you for protecting us and putting your lives in danger to protect innocents. To Ben Grogan and Jerry Dove R.I.P. and thank you for your ultimate sacrifice. Neither of them backed out of the fight for a moment and showed true valor. All the agents did.
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Old September 3, 2011, 01:32 AM   #9
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I've been thinking about this also and wondering about the shotguns. Were the agents cars equiped with SG carriers?

I am wondering how quickly an agent could get a SG out of a carrier and deploy it.

If the agent who was a passenger would have been armed with a shotgun, just carrying it - what keeps that SG from flying out the door during a rough felony stop - a sling?
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Old September 3, 2011, 03:43 AM   #10
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I think one thing that probably surprised everyone is the level of practice the BGs had with firearms. We often think of thugs as not practicing much with guns, that they will just blast away. But I believe the BGs actually went to gravel pits often and shot a lot of ammo (as well as stealing cars and killing gun owners). Reminds me of what they say about Clyde Barrow, John Dillinger and other famous robbers from the 1930s.

Too bad that the most publicized issue coming out of that was pistol caliber. I like and mostly own .40S&W pistols but if anything the Miami Shootout demonstrated that pistol caliber is far LESS important than tactics, preparation, rifles vs. pistols, and properly securing your weapon enroute.

I would like to know more about these agents who jumped into the reach. Did they not know they often shot it out and used rifles and shotguns? They were driving around specifically looking for the pair, so it surprises me they had no plan for a chance take down and to have the firearms on hand, not calling for backup. The fact they had no means to secure the shotgun in the car seems to indicate the agents were more of a detective role and were not intended to do felony stops.

At any rate they fought bravely and hopefully the important lessons were taught regardless of the scape-goating of the 9mm. Seems like that conveniently prevented any investigation into how the higher ups were managing the hunt and how they trained and assigned their agents.
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Old September 3, 2011, 10:24 AM   #11
old bear
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Quote:
Matix could have still been in the fight.
Tyler, When Platt, seated right front of vehicle, fired is initial shots at the agents he leaned across Matix to do so and this disoriented Matix enough that along with his early wounds it took him out of the fight.
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Old September 3, 2011, 11:01 AM   #12
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I've also studied this fight occasionally over the intervening decades, and the dedication of the Agents is unquestioned. The more I look at this incident, it leads me back to one of the corollaries of armed combat.

No plan survives the first contact, intact.
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Old September 3, 2011, 11:58 AM   #13
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Old Bear -- I know he leaned across him and fired like 13 rounds or something in front of his face. Matix then fired his shotgun, once , after Platt pullled back. Grogan was able to sucessfully hit his arm making him check the wound. You are probably right though, he probably was disorented and just fired a shot. However, the medical examiner said his eyes were completley intact and there was no blood in his ears meaning his eardrums were intact. I wonder jus how affected he was by this. Anyway there are also reports from agents that Matix was outside the car for sometime between Platts reload and getting ready to charge. He never fired another shot, he may have just been hiding, but he managed to get to the other car.
--Another (possibility) in the shootout is Platt getting back out of the vehicle Grogan/Dove's with Matix's 357 and firing 3 rounds at one of the agents. I dont know if this happened or not. Orrantia and Rinsner are postivie it didnt. However, credible witnesses say it did. With all those wounds would he take the time to attempt that? I dont know. I wonder if that did actually happen though.
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Old September 3, 2011, 04:36 PM   #14
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The Massad Ayoob His name be praised did an interview with one of the Agents in the shootout. Here is a link to it:

http://proarmspodcast.com/2011/01/10...ight-in-miami/
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Old September 3, 2011, 05:01 PM   #15
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Like in so many similar scenarios, one of the major lessons that stands out to me is, if you have a choice, never bring a handgun to a fight. As a civilian, if you have a choice, don't be AT the fight.
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Old September 3, 2011, 05:21 PM   #16
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If I remember correctly,the local PD was not informed of this plan and when the crap hit the fan,the FBI was confused of their exact location which didn't help.All in all,it was a learning experience for all Leos.
It's funny in a way ,the OK corral shooting was much less dynamic but will probably be remembered long after this shootout.
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Old September 3, 2011, 06:11 PM   #17
TylerD45ACP
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@Sefner-- Thanks for posting that interview that was very interesting to hear. I could feel the intensity of that day through Hanlon's voice.
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Old September 3, 2011, 06:23 PM   #18
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PawPaw

Quote:
No plan survives the first contact, intact.
Short, sweet, and to the point. + 1.

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Old September 3, 2011, 06:35 PM   #19
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interesting thread

I have always heard that a pistol is what you use to get to a real gun.

(don't take exception all you pistol owners) I love mine too. Point being that if you ever do get into gun fight, you want to be better equiped if possible or at the least, have equal.
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Old September 3, 2011, 06:38 PM   #20
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Was there a plan? I've read a few accounts of the shooting and events leading up to it. None of them described any sort of plan accept to drive around and keep an eye out for Platt and Matix in the last car reportedly stolen by them.

Was there a plan in place for when the BG were spotted? If spotted in a car? Or in a store? Or on the street? If anyone has link or book reference to the planning aspects of the shooting I would like to read more.

Even though no plan survives the first action, having no plan is even worse, unless the actors are so thoroughly trained together they always are on the same plan and same page mentally. Doesn't sound like the FBI agents were that highly trained as a reaction team in this case.
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Old September 3, 2011, 08:04 PM   #21
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An instructor I had at the SIG Academy, in discussing the Miami shootout said, in plain English, the FBI was outfought. Platt's survival instincts and desire to win was stronger than that of the agents. Also, Most accounts I've read have Platt doing all the shooting and Matix did not return fire.

The Miami shootout, along with the Newhall incident, in which four CHIPs died in a shootout in the parking lot of a diner, are still studied in police academies. The Newhall incident had a greater impact in changing police firearms training than did the FBI shootout.

Generally, whoever is firstist with the mostist will win. The FBI had shotguns in their trunks. Apparently, they were following FBI policy. So, when the shootout began, as already noted, it was a mini-14 against a five-shot Chief. Knowing they were after some dangerous dudes, they were not psychologically, tactically or physically prepared for the incident that unfolded.
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Old September 3, 2011, 08:19 PM   #22
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Yea that is pretty much what seems to have happened. Platt seemed to be able to make himself completley oblivious to his injuries and fight on. Matix fired 1 shot the whole shootout out of his S&W M3000 12G with #6 shot. After that he never fired another shot.
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Old September 3, 2011, 08:25 PM   #23
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There were several lessons that were important to me I took away from this event. I've looked at it for a long time, and I read the book and pretty much everything else I could find as well. YMMV here of course. Here goes...

Firearms are not necessarily death rays. Just because someone gets shot doesn't mean that person will stop, or die right there. Just because you get shot doesn't mean you will stop or die right there either. It is critical to stay in the fight, or get back in the fight, if things don't go your way. Otherwise you might very well die needlessly right there. You stop when the fight is over and not before. Whatever else happens, don't let your people down.

Cars can be surprisingly good cover in some cases. Cover is a really good thing. About half of a gunfight is the process of not getting shot. That's not something you want to forget.

It's not enough to get peripheral hits, nor is it good enough to get torso hits that do not drive deep enough and/or fail to intersect sufficiently critical anatomical structures to be incapacitating. Placement counts a lot, but placement without sufficient penetration won't get it done. The human target is 3D. It's like a covey of quail on the rise, there's a lot more air than bird and you have to pick one bird out of the uproar and shoot it. There is no magic caliber or magic bullet that will fix both placement problems and penetration problems.

Gunfights are what they are, not what you had planned for them to be or thought they would be. Outgunned and outnumbered does not necessarily mean outfought. When it starts, it's all on until it's all over.

It's better to out-think your opponent in the first place, if opportunity presents itself, than to have to out-fight him later.

You can do everything right and still get killed. You can do a lot of things wrong and still survive. Sometimes it doesn't make sense but it happens that way anyway.

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Old September 3, 2011, 09:50 PM   #24
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I think if they definately knew they were going to encounter Platt & Matix that day they would have been wearing vests, there would have been more shotguns, more carbines and less 38 revolvers.

Another thing that stood out to me is how many times people were either shot in the hand, the arm or their weapons were hit. In each case the hits changed the dynamics of the firefight in some way.
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Old September 3, 2011, 11:38 PM   #25
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The lesson I take away from this...

NWPilgrim:
Quote:
I think one thing that probably surprised everyone is the level of practice the BGs had with firearms. We often think of thugs as not practicing much with guns, that they will just blast away. But I believe the BGs actually went to gravel pits often and shot a lot of ammo (as well as stealing cars and killing gun owners)
This is the part of the story that stood out to me, and it has nothing to do with calibers, tactics etc. TWICE these BGs murdered ordinary guys who were practicing at informal gun ranges -- rock pits -- and stole their guns and cars.

I doubt that very many of us here will ever be in a gunfight; certainly not -- God forbid! -- the kind of shootout the FBI agents faced. But probably a great many of us have shot or thought about shooting at an unofficial, de facto range like an old rock quarry. I'll bet a number of members reading this right now know of such a place, and might even go there regularly to practice. Over the years, I've been to any number of such places.

The last thing we'd ever imagine would be to be ambushed in such a place by a fellow shooter. But this story makes it clear how much of a sitting duck one can be when alone in such a place.

In light of this story, I'm going to re-think going to such places,
and if I go at all, I'll make sure that I'm not alone and that my companions are aware of what could possibly go down when other folks show up there.

Even better, I'll just restrict my practice shooting to formal, administered public or private shooting ranges.
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