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Old December 13, 2012, 02:04 AM   #1
Theohazard
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Bad advice from military/law enforcement...

I see it a lot on these forums and I hear it all the time at the gun shop where I work: "My friend is in [the military/law enforcement] and he says..."

Sometimes it's good advice, and often it's bad or even terrible advice. But whatever the advice, it's usually taken as gospel based solely on the fact that the friend has military or law enforcement experience, and that's a mistake.

I want to caution newer shooters in trusting the gun advice of people solely based on their military/law enforcement experience. Those institutions don't necessarily teach anything more than just how to use the specific weapons one is issued; general firearms knowledge is rarely taught. Being a former Marine who spent four years in an infantry MOS, I can tell you that the Marine Corps only teaches you how to use weapons; general firearms knowledge is usually completely irrelevant, especially pertaining to civilian weapons.

Sure, there are many current and former military/law enforcement personnel who have received advanced training and are also well-versed in civilian firearms. But there are also a lot of those who don't have advanced training and haven't studied up on civilian firearms at all, yet present themselves as firearms experts just because of their military/law enforcement experience.

So while some of the best training and advice I've received has come from current and former military/law enforcement, some of the worst firearms advice I've ever heard has also come from the same kind of people.
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Old December 13, 2012, 03:17 AM   #2
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I received very inaccurate advice on legal requirements for interstate firearms sales from two city PD narcotics detectives and a state trooper.

Go to the source (BATFE, state AG or regulatory agency, etc) that most applies to whatever question you may have.
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Old December 13, 2012, 07:00 AM   #3
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Just like with everything else, advice is simply advice. It can be from anyone and it is the user's responsibility to find the right and legal answer when it comes to firearms. The title of this thread is a little irritating since you can substitute a variety of other terms (women, old folks, fat people, short one legged male, etc.) if one has received bad advice from that group.

The mistake is listening to one source and acting upon it.
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Old December 13, 2012, 07:14 AM   #4
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Just because some has a job that involves a firearm doesn't mean they are experts. Advice is just that no matter the who is giving it.
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Old December 13, 2012, 07:25 AM   #5
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Having been both, I can tell you I have heard stuff about guns from guys that rival any gunshop commando stories you have ever heard. Ever.

In addition, you don't have to be a gun guy to be in the military or law enforcement anyway. You just have to qualify. You don't get past simple qualification until you start doing stuff that is more specialized. Then you get to burn up Uncle Sugar's ammo he has stashed away. That can be fun.
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Old December 13, 2012, 08:57 AM   #6
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It all depends..... Keep in mind how many people who have never been in the military or law enforcement yet claim to be ex military or LEO. Everyone wants the cool factor. Even within the military we use to joke that "bad training was better than no training", it was sarcastic because we knew it wasn't true and yet we did bad training here and there.

Keep in mind the experience of someone who did 3 three year tour could be quite extensive or on the other hand they might never have done much of anything. Even career troops aren't above flights of fantasy but most have been around to have done at least a little bit of everything.

I once knew an Active duty Command Sergeant Major who claimed he'd never been deployed and had never spent a night in the field... CSM's don't get to that position without at least 12 years of experience and usually a lot more years. The point being experience is very individual...

Myself and some of my friends use to joke that you could always tell who had never been in any sort of serious stuff... You could tell because they were looking forward to going into the serious stuff. Most experienced troops wont complain about high risk situations but they generally aren't all excited about it either.

I guess in the end the advise is worth what you generally paid for it....
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Old December 13, 2012, 09:00 AM   #7
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All of the above, plus much of the advice passed second hand to you is most likely quoted inaccurately or is one person embellishing his mistakes by falsely attributing them to some source one might assume is knowledgeable. Usually they just want to appear to experts.
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Old December 13, 2012, 09:24 AM   #8
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"In the military" is given WAAY too much credit for weapons knowlege.

You can be pretty sure that a submariner can give you a competent explanation of what "Rig for Dive" means. But marksmanship or small arms tactics - not so much.

Same for truck drivers or payroll clerks and so on.
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Old December 13, 2012, 09:56 AM   #9
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Advice is a form of opinion. The weight you should give an opinion, is based on the speaker's education, training and experience with the subject.

That varies a good deal among the services. Within a service, it varies a lot on the job the person did.

Anyone who served in the last several decades should have received some education and training in the use of the M16 or M4. However, depending on the service and job, they may have never received any form of follow up or have any practical experience.

An infantryman in the Army or Marine Corps gets lots of this. A personnel specialist in the Navy - not so much.

From what I've seen of various police forces, these factors vary. There are minimum requirements that must be met by all. Whether the officer goes beyond this is up to him.

I guess that's all a very fancy way of saying what the OP did. You need to know who you are taking advice from.
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Old December 13, 2012, 10:03 AM   #10
Theohazard
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Quote:
twins posted:
The title of this thread is a little irritating since you can substitute a variety of other terms (women, old folks, fat people, short one legged male, etc.) if one has received bad advice from that group.
However, my point is that many new shooters listen to bad advice from military/law enforcement because they assume that person knows what they're talking about, but if the advice came from another source they may be a little more skeptical.
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Old December 13, 2012, 10:06 AM   #11
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LEO and military personnel recieve only very minimal training due to the "people in charge" having the belief that it is not worth the cost to teach it. Their budgets are tight and they feel spending more money on equipment is more important. I served in the military and our training was almost worthless. As a former NRA instructor I witnessed lots of LEO qualifications and it was almost unbelievable how poorly trained and unsafe these guys were. On a few occasions we had LEOs come to our USPSA matches and they all left and never came back because they were so embarrassed. Do not consider LEOs and "military vets" to be experts. A few may be, but the majority learn almost all of their skills by listening to other "experts" who are also clueless. It is a sad state of affairs.

Last edited by drail; December 13, 2012 at 10:13 AM.
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Old December 13, 2012, 10:09 AM   #12
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Advice is a form of opinion. The weight you should give an opinion, is based on the speaker's education, training and experience with the subject.
Yeah, you would think so ..... in reality, not so much: when I asked people in our local PD and SO, the guys responsible for the enforcement of the pertinant ordinances and statutes about CCW ...... the only consistant thing in any of their answers were they were consistantly wrong.
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Old December 13, 2012, 11:13 AM   #13
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I think the best thing anyone could do is get them on this forum. If it doesn't spark an interest in learning more then at least you did your job.
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Old December 13, 2012, 11:21 AM   #14
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pfft, everyone knows that the source to go to is the local wallymart. look for the youngest clerk, he'll know everything.

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Old December 13, 2012, 12:45 PM   #15
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Being the range officer on a range where MP's were there to qualify makes you hope that most of them never never never ever have to draw their weapon. Being an instructor for our local Sheriff and police departments I have seen very few gun guys and they did very well but most were in the MP class and needed a lot of work.

I heard many amusing things on the line, its a lot better at matches when hopefully the young shooters listen to the old shooters but back at the shop the stories I hear from my mates and the wonderful shooting they can do made me wonder why they weren't on the team and winning all the matches. I ask them to go to the range with me and demonstrate but they always have an excuse. That doesn't stop them from sharing their expertise and experiences.

Did you know if you want to shoot somebody with a 45 ACP you have to be up on an elevation and shoot downwards so gravity can speed up the bullet in order to make hits beyond 25 yards. I did not know that.
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Old December 13, 2012, 12:56 PM   #16
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The same goes with every profession. Tax attorney's giving legal advice and Doctors giving all sorts of advice out of their specialty.
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Old December 13, 2012, 01:10 PM   #17
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Years in naval spec ops and a couple in law enforcement and I certainly don't know it all. I do have my preferences based on combat experience. Many of the people I attended the Naval Academy with had never fired a weapon before.

You should get the perspective of many before you make a decision. I see a lot of bad advice from civilians as well. I take it all with a grain of salt.
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Old December 13, 2012, 01:29 PM   #18
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My advice someone that gives advice on a Internet forum does not mean they are experts. Some give advice you can take it or leave it, others say its there way or no way. You can get bad advice form any individual its up to you what is useful advice and what is rubbish.
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Old December 13, 2012, 02:25 PM   #19
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So, all y'all got me thinking.

Pretty much everything I know about the AR-15 type of weapon comes from the military. I was an infantryman. I think I'd be fairly typical of anyone who paid attention, practiced and remembers.

I know safety. I don't have any kind of certification, but someone could do a lot worse than following my instructions on the subject. It's the first thing I go over with a new shooter (or observe about someone I don't know) and I incorporate it into all things.

I know how to operate the weapon mechanically. I was taught these tasks, trained on how to do them and did them - over and over again. Again, I don't have any kind of certification, but if someone does what I tell them, it's going to be fine.

I can field strip, reassemble, inspect and pull user level maintenance on the weapon. I'm not a gun smith. If you want to take the barrel off of the upper receiver, you won't get any advice from me.

I can zero the weapon and fire it to good effect on a range or in the field under a variety of conditions. I can get someone started on the basics. But I'm not a marksmanship instructor.

That's my opinion on my opinion.
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Old December 13, 2012, 03:16 PM   #20
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I agree, on the average, military and police arn't "gun people"

But it goes both ways. Not much chaps me more then some kid who was never in the military, let along combat, telling me M16s are junk and well get you killed.

The same gun I used as an infantryman in Vietnam which served me quite well.

Might have something to do with the internet. I've done lots of things "pre-internet" that I've found to be impossible or wrong "post internet".
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Old December 13, 2012, 05:23 PM   #21
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Might have something to do with the internet. I've done lots of things "pre-internet" that I've found to be impossible or wrong "post internet".
I was just thinking that myself. For instance, using 223 ammo in a 556 gun, apparently can't or shouldn't be done because the internet says so! Even though it has been done for many many years.

I find all to often advice is usually someone just repeating something they heard or were told and is not from their own first hand experience.
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Old December 13, 2012, 05:30 PM   #22
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The worst advice I ever got was on an internet forum....
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Old December 13, 2012, 06:40 PM   #23
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I was just thinking that myself. For instance, using 223 ammo in a 556 gun, apparently can't or shouldn't be done because the internet says so! Even though it has been done for many many years.
I think they got it backwards, 223 is ok to use in a 5.56, but 5.56 ammo in a 223 can develop dangerously high pressures.
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Old December 13, 2012, 07:15 PM   #24
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Heck, I'm in the military, and I hear stupid advice all the time.

"Watch that weapon, Sergeant. You'll have an ND and bring down the whole airplane."

"Load nothing but tracers in the bottom half of your mag."
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Old December 13, 2012, 08:38 PM   #25
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You might not learn a lot about firearms but you learn how to handle and shoot them effectively. Was good enough for me.
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