There are many valuable lessons to be learned from the LAPD Categorical Use Of Force reports. http://www.lapdonline.org/categorical_use_of_force Most of those lessons relate to the dynamics of Officer Involved Shootings. However, the reports also provide a detailed account for every Unintentional Discharge by a Los Angeles POlice Officer. This particular incident relates to the UD of a snub revolver.
Officer A brought his/her back-up service revolver home with the intention to clean it.
With the muzzle of the revolver pointed toward the ground, Officer A held the revolver with his/her right hand and used his/her right thumb to push the cylinder release button, disengaging the cylinder from the revolver. Once the cylinder disengaged, Officer A placed his/her left hand under the open cylinder and used his/her left index finger to depress the ejector rod, releasing the live rounds into his/her left hand. Officer A did not count the live rounds and placed them on top of the kitchen counter directly behind him/her. Officer A then closed the cylinder.
Officer A held his/her revolver with two hands in a standing shooting position. He/she raised his/her revolver and pointed it in the direction of the vertical blinds covering a sliding glass doors, which led to an exterior patio. Officer A placed his/her finger on the trigger and pressed it to dry fire the revolver. Officer A conducted two dry fire presses of the trigger.
According to Officer A, he/she normally conducted dry trigger press exercises approximately three times per week, on his/her days off. However, Officer A stated that he/she usually practices with his/her semi-automatic service pistol, and this was the first time that he/she practiced with his/her revolver.
According to Officer A, believing his/her revolver was still unloaded, he/she placed his/her finger on the trigger and pressed it a third time, which caused the revolver to discharge a single round. No one was injured by the discharge.
Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners’ Findings
The BOPC determined that Officer A’s actions violated the Department’s Basic Firearm Safety Rules and found Officer A’s Unintentional Discharge to be Negligent.
Lessons To Be Learned From The Incident
The value of reading about incidents like this is not to criticize or heap scorn but rather to learn hard lessons from someone else’s Negative Outcome.
- Revolvers have multiple chambers not just one like an autoloading pistol. Especially if the revolver is dirty, either from firing or carrying, it’s not uncommon for one or two rounds to remain in the cylinder when the rest eject. Two factors can contribute to this. One, the ejector rod of a snub is shorter than the cases so it doesn’t push the rounds completely out. Two, gravity has effect when loading or unloading a revolver. If the revolver is not held completely vertical when being unloaded, gravity causes the cases to drag on the bottom of the chambers. This is simply physics in action.
- “Officer A placed his/her left hand under the open cylinder and used his/her left index finger to depress the ejector rod, releasing the live rounds into his/her left hand.” This is pretty much impossible to do with the revolver held vertically. It is also a bad repetition of reloading procedure. While we sometimes have to perform administrative functions with our guns, those administrative actions should mimic our actual handling and firing procedures, whenever possible. In this case, ejecting the rounds straight down as if getting ready to reload would be a better procedure.
- Count the rounds when they come out of the revolver. You should be aware how many chambers your revolver has. Five chambers but only four rounds indicates a problem. Note that a nickel plated single round in the cylinder of a stainless or anodized revolver is not necessarily immediately obvious. By counting the rounds and then carefully examining the cylinder, the chances of a round remaining in a chamber is mitigated.
- Dummy ammunition not only protects the firing pin, hammer nose, or striker of a handgun during dry practice, it also provides an additional layer of safety during the practice session. If a visually identifiable dummy is in the chamber(s), then a live round cannot be. This is also physics. Dummies are available from A-Zoom and ST Action Pro. They can be found on Amazon or better gun stores.
- Dry practice should always be conducted at a specific target located on some kind of bullet resistant backstop. “[V]ertical blinds covering a sliding glass doors [sic] leading to an exterior patio” DO NOT fulfill this requirement.
Dry practice is a valuable way to build skill, especially with a wheelgun. Make sure that you are alert and focused on the task and observe safety procedures rigorously.
Tactical Professor books are NOT FREE but if you would be interested in knowing how to better operate the firearms you own during the American Insurgency, they can be purchased from the menu at the top of the page.
One of my Patrons https://www.patreon.com/TacticalProfessor sent me the following message:
I have been reading online ‘experts’ who say that with riots and increased numbers of unemployed, that the day of the lone attacker is over, and that concealed carriers need the additional ammo and quick reload capabilities of modern semi-auto pistols, to handle multiple attackers. According to these ‘wise’ folks, the day of the concealed revolver or low capacity pistol is past.
What are your thoughts? Is this paranoia, or an evolution of threat?
Here’s what I think.
It’s both. They’re right that there is some elevated risk of attack if you go to ‘stupid places where stupid people are doing stupid things.’ However, if you look at the FBI figures about the overall volume of crime v. the number of people who become casualties at mass gatherings, the percentage of casualties at mass gathering is infinitesimal.
The logic is skewed in a similar fashion to the way BLM logic is skewed. Just because we hear about a questionable incident doesn’t mean the other 999 don’t represent the reality of the big picture. For instance, the FBI reported in 2017 there were an estimated 810,825 aggravated assaults in the nation. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2017/crime-in-the-u.s.-2017/topic-pages/aggravated-assault As best I can tell, those are all the same kind of attacker situation (1 or 2) that has existed since the FBI started gathering statistics. The big picture hasn’t really changed, only what some people are looking for in it has. We’re all victims of selective perception at times.
I’m familiar with the comment “No one wants to be a statistical anomaly.” I’m also familiar with Tom Givens’ observation that the only students of his who have lost their fights were because of forfeits, i.e., they were unarmed. Let’s face a reality that every Infantryman knows all too well, ammunition is heavy and uncomfortable to carry. Periodically, I hear the quip “no one in a gunfight says they brought too much ammunition.” My response to that is that a lot of people who are attacked think “I wish I’d brought my gun.”
It seems like periodically we have to relearn the lesson that the pocket pistol on you is more useful than the service pistol left in your safe. With respect to one of my colleagues, the concept “It should be comforting not comfortable” is probably the most foolish and out of touch saying that has ever been uttered in the training community.
Thanks to my Patron for asking a good question.
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A discussion came up on a Firearms Instructor group that decried the fact that many indoor ranges only allow NRA training https://firearmtraining.nra.org/ and don’t teach ‘Concealed Carry’ classes. Let’s bear in mind that 999 out of 1,000 gunowners only have access to an indoor range. That’s a calculated number, not a SWAG.
More people don’t carry than do. According to John Lott, the current figure for those having some kind of weapons carry license is 18.66 million people. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3463357 The Gallup Poll indicates the 43% of US households have a gun. https://news.gallup.com/poll/264932/percentage-americans-own-guns.aspx That would be 51.4 million people, which is probably underreported as compared to licenses. My personal experience is that the demographic with the economic means to afford training is most likely to NOT have a carry license.
When we teach people, either formally or informally, we do ourselves and the gun owning public in general a disservice when we place so much emphasis on the techniques for carrying a gun. It’s unfortunate that the NRA’s philosophy of Personal Protection training is buried in the Instructor manual for the Personal Protection Outside The Home course.
A synopsis of the NRA concept as excerpted from that manual is as follows:
The NRA Basic Personal Protection Series is based on the building-block approach, moving from the simple to the complex.
The first course in this series is the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Course, which develops in your students the basic skills of handling, shooting, and cleaning the firearm, as well as a thorough grounding in firearm safety.
The second course in this series is the NRA Basics of Personal Protection In The Home Course, (which builds on the skills already learned in the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Course). In this second course, participants learn to use a defensive or flash sight picture, …
The third course in the series is the NRA Basics of Personal Protection Outside The Home (which builds on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes learned in the NRA Basics of Personal Protection In The Home Course).
A very intelligent female friend explained to me her personal journey to carrying a gun. It involved five phases over the course of three years for her to consistently carry a gun and feel comfortable with it. That’s far more common than most people who teach, either as formal instructors or just friends giving guidance, seem to realize.
The NRA philosophy has a great deal of logic behind its structure. It pains me when our training community ignores it. We spend a fair amount of time talking about the ‘Crawl, Walk, Run’ approach to training but what we actually teach is ‘Run and then Run some more,’ period. Maybe it would be a good idea if we tried to guide people through a process one step at a time instead of ‘feeding them with a firehose.’ There’s a reason I wrote Indoor Range Practice Sessions before I wrote Concealed Carry Skills and Drills.
Tactical Professor books (all PDF)
- Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com
- Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com
- Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com
- Advanced Pistol Practice http://bit.ly/advancedpistolpractice
- Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com
- Package deal of Serious Mistakes, Indoor Sessions, Concealed Carry, and Shooting Your Black Rifle (20% off) https://store.payloadz.com/details/2644448-ebooks-sports-shooting-drills-package.html
More correctly, the title should be Locking the Slide to the Rear. For a new gunowner, this is not nearly as simple as is often believed. Locking the slide to the rear is an integral part of checking whether an autoloading pistol is loaded or not. For new gunowners, this is worth practicing every day until it can be done readily.
My ebook, Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make is an excellent purchase for new gunowners or as a present if you know a new gunowner.
Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com
(second in a series)
DALE CARNEGIE’S SECRETS OF SUCCESS (nee The Golden Book) is a valuable resource for improving our relationships with other members of the gun carrying community. The hard copy I have is six pages long. I’ve kept it on my desk for over 20 years since I went through Dale Carnegie training. The book is available online as a free download.
The first part of the book is a three page section called Principles from How to Win Friends and Influence People. It covers three topics.
- Become a Friendlier Person
- Win People to Your Way of Thinking
- Be A Leader
Each of the topics has a series of numbered bullet points that can guide our interactions with people. Here’s how we might apply those Principles in the situation of seeing someone whose way of carrying isn’t what we would ordinarily recommend.
Become a Friendlier Person
1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
2. Give honest, sincere appreciation.
- You’re carrying a gun – Excellent!
- Your holster has a safety strap.
6. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
- Introduce yourself
- Ask the other person’s first name if they don’t give it in return.
7. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
- What kind of gun is that? (Regardless if you know what it is.)
- How long have you been carrying?
- Have you done any training?
Questions are powerful, much more powerful than criticism, condemnation, or complaints. By starting a friendly interaction with a person and then asking kindly questions, we have the opportunity to be guides to people who are less knowledgeable than ourselves. It puts us in the position to Win Friends to our community and influence them to Success. Our people skills are the single most powerful weapon in our arsenal.
We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.
(First in a series)
There’s a picture of a woman carrying a pistol non-doctrinally (i.e., a lot of people are unhappy with the way she’s doing it) circulating on the Internet now. The pistol is in a holster attached to her yoga pants and despite being a small pistol, it’s pulling her pants down some on that side. I’m not going to post the picture because it’s unnecessary to my point. The picture has generated almost universal criticism, the following being typical.
The freedom to carry a gun is a great thing.
But you will never, EVER convince me that carrying a gun without training is smart decision. If you’re untrained[,] you do stupid things like this, which actually puts you and those around you in more danger than if you were unarmed.
Carry a gun. But don’t be an untrained fool about it.
My comment about the picture is:
At least she has a gun and her holster has a safety strap.
“Get some training” is a meme in the industry. Unfortunately, both the size and the availability of the training base are very small. This is true even if every NRA and State certified CCW instructor is included in the number. There’s also the issue in my mind of those who make statements like this but got their training from the government while in the pay of the government. That generates an ethical issue you can ponder some time.
Here’s an infographic about the availability of training to gunowners. The concept of ‘the training base’ is something that people who haven’t had to regularly conduct resource intensive training for a lot of people simply don’t understand. Once again, it’s the Tactical Professor with those pesky little numbery things again.
And my estimate of training facilities is based on those capable of supporting at least NRA Basic Pistol not any kind of ‘meaningful’ training for carrying a weapon. Basic Pistol or its equivalent is as far as most facilities are prepared to go, for various reasons. I wouldn’t be surprised if the number where holster oriented training is allowed is less than 1,000. The good news is that the NRA Instructor base has grown to over 120,000 so we’re probably under 500 students per instructor now. Other good news is that the NRA Training Department has created a CCW course. However, that will take years to generate any significant number of CCW Certified Instructors.
Here’s my first question:
Did the person who took the picture approach the woman and offer to help her out with her knowledgebase, either personally or by referring her to someone who is a trainer?
As a community, we need to do a better job of the way we interact with beginners and novices instead of just being socially maladroit jackwagons and calling them fools.
More in the next installment.
BTW, my Concealed Carry Skills and Drills eBook would have been a nice reference to point her to or maybe even buy for her if the observer actually really cared about her welfare. Or was finger pointing, ego stroking, and shaming the real object of the exercise?
Tactical Professor books (all downloadable PDF files)
Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com
Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com
Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com
Advanced Pistol Practice http://bit.ly/advancedpistolpractice
Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com
This subject came up again today and the evaluation criteria are worth repeating.
Before you buy a gun, you should go to a range that rents guns and try different ones out to see which one is best for you.
What does “try them out” mean? How do we measure “which one is best for you?” Here is a list of worthwhile items to evaluate for you to make an informed decision about an autoloading pistol. For those who are helping a prospective purchaser, demonstrate the technique but then place the pistol in a sterile (unloaded with slide forward) condition and let them do their own evaluation without comment or coaching. You won’t be there to coach them if they need to use the pistol for real; that’s part of the evaluation.
- Load the pistol. This has two components.
- Load a magazine to full capacity.
- Load the fully charged magazine into the pistol and chamber a round.
- Manipulate the controls of the pistol.
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This morning there was a murder in a church in Texas. A few seconds later, further murders were prevented by the quick action of a counter-murderer who protected the congregation. In the incident, it appears that someone tried to draw a pistol but was unsuccessful and got shot for his trouble. It is possible he was trying to get his cell phone to call for help, though. The footage is not very clear.
What was the requisite level of skill to end this situation? The shot would appear to be two aisles plus the width of a pew.
At the recommended 24 inches per person for 12 people (4 hymnal racks per pew with 3 per), that would be 24 feet for the pew plus 10 feet (two 5 foot aisles). https://www.lifeway.com/en/articles/church-architecture-rules-thumb-space-dimensions
As long as a person can consistently (95% of one shot presentations) hit a target the size of two sheets of paper, stacked in landscape orientation, at four yards, they have the requisite level of marksmanship skill to dominate 99% of personal protection shooting incidents by non-sworn personnel.
That’s not a popular opinion but after studying over 5,000 Armed Citizen incidents, it’s the conclusion I’ve come to. Here is the Male torso hit zone target sheet.
There are other skills that are more important than marksmanship.
Why do people carry an autoloader with an empty chamber? Because they’re concerned about having an Unintentional Discharge.
One of the comments about the incident on Facebook sums up many people’s feelings about it.
Which is more likely to save your life? Carrying an autoloader with the chamber empty or carrying a revolver ready to go? Active Self Protection provides us with some food for thought.
A Stark Reminder to Keep Your Defensive Firearm Chambered
Armed Robber Kills Store Owner Whose Gun Wasn’t Ready
Another Reminder to Carry Chamber Full