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Posts Tagged ‘training’

Denver Police problem: “accidental shootings”

Posted by Richard on March 21, 2014

Gun safety isn’t really difficult. There are only four simple rules, first articulated by Col. Jeff Cooper, that must be followed. But you must adhere to these rules absolutely, consistently, 100% of the time. Rule #3 is:

KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET

Here is a picture illustrating adherence to rule #3:

finger-off-trigger

The trigger finger is outside the trigger guard, extended alongside the frame of the pistol. As Col. Cooper explained:

… Since the hand normally prefers to work as a unit – as in grasping – separating the function of the trigger-finger from the rest of the hand takes effort. The five-finger grasp is a deeply programmed reflex. Under sufficient stress, and with the finger already placed on the trigger, an unexpected movement, misstep or surprise could result in a negligent discharge. Speed cannot be gained from such a premature placement of the trigger-finger. Bringing the sights to bear on the target, whether from the holster or the Guard Position, takes more time than that required for moving the trigger finger an inch or so to the trigger.

It appears that at least some Denver police officers aren’t adhering to rule #3. But most of the blame is being put on their weapon-mounted flashlights:

Denver’s police chief said Thursday he has ordered extra training and a review of department policies after the second accidental shooting by an officer this month and the fifth in a little over a year.

Police are still investigating the latest shooting Sunday night, but at least two of the accidental shootings have been blamed on gun-mounted tactical flashlights. Such lights have also been cited in other accidental police shootings across the country, including one that killed a man in Texas.

Two of last year’s unintentional shootings were connected to officers’ use of the flashlights, according to the city’s independent police monitor’s annual report. White responded by banning a specific design of flashlight with an on/off switch located on the gun’s grip just below the trigger guard. He cited three specific brands, but said his ban was not limited to those products.

Nonsense. Look at the picture above again. The flashlight switch is located on the front strap of the pistol grip, under the middle finger. The middle finger presses the switch to turn the flashlight on or off. If your trigger finger (forefinger) is properly located outside the trigger guard and extended alongside the frame, there is no way that you will “accidentally” press the trigger when attempting to turn on the flashlight.

When it comes to gun handling, as Col. Cooper said, “there are no accidents, only negligent acts.” There are far too many cops in this country who’ve received inadequate training and seem to have adopted the gun-handling practices they see on TV crime dramas made by people who know little or nothing about guns.

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