‘three shots, three yards, three seconds,’ https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/02/19/skills-conversation-about-lapd-shootouts/ has generated some good discussion and questions, which makes me happy. Someone posted a question on the Facebook page for Growing Up Guns.
Nothing was said about whether this done from a low or compressed ready, or from concealment, as far as the par time. Being LE based info, I’m assuming this was done from a duty holster. Thoughts?
It’s a progression, just like the size of the target. When someone is first learning to shoot, do it from Low Ready, muzzle below the feet of the target, finger off the trigger. Once a shooter achieves some degree of proficiency, which I would personally define as being able to consistently hit the quarter sheet, then branching can begin. Others might be satisfied with hitting the full sheet consistently as a standard.
There are numerous possible branching variations.
- From the midpoint of the drawstroke.
- From the holster. Take your pick of open, concealed, or Level III Security.
- Primary Hand Only from Low Ready
- Support Hand Only from Low Ready
I use the term ‘midpoint of the drawstroke’ rather than ‘compressed ready’ because I’m not a fan of muzzling suspects prior to making the SHOOT decision. If the bore is parallel to the ground, there’s almost no way to avoid muzzling others. From that perspective, the idea of having the bore parallel to the ground as a ready position is purely “square range” thinking.
For those who are feeling exceptionally froggy, try stacking all three targets on a single silhouette. Shoot all three targets as one string using three round magazines and reloading between targets. Obviously, your time will be more than three seconds. Keep in mind that the second most missed shot is the first shot after a Stoppage Clearance. Reloading is a Stoppage Clearance so you’ll have two opportunities to maintain your focus.
The end outcome, consistent hits on a variable sized target, is the focal point of the drill. There are numerous tasks that can achieve it, most of which have value.
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I was talking with a friend of mine, who has Been There and Done That (BTDT), about Real Shootouts of the LAPD. He asked:
What was your biggest conclusion after writing the book?DIA Guy
“When Frank McGee (head of NYPD firearms training in the 70s) said ‘three shots, three yards, three seconds,’ he wasn’t far off the mark” was my response. I still think that on-duty POlice shootouts may be a different story but the off-duty shooting situations are much like those of an Armed Citizen.
We then started talking about the difference between ‘when to shoot’ vis-à-vis ‘how to shoot’ training / practice. He had an interesting take on targets in terms of ‘how to shoot.’
What he tells his students is,
Use a sheet of paper. When you can consistently hit that, fold it in half. When you can consistently hit that, fold it in half again.
How do we combine that concept with ‘three, three, three?’ Since I am a firm believer in consistency, let’s do it three times in a row. That would make it 3X4. I also think context is important, so let’s put the sheet of paper on a silhouette. Place the silhouette at three yards. Fire three shots at the target. Repeat twice for a total of nine rounds fired in three strings of three. Since it’s a three second Par time exercise, you can use a Par timer app on your phone with your earbuds underneath your hearing protection. I like ‘Dry Fire Par Time Tracker’ but there are others.
If all three strings of three shots hit it, fold another sheet of paper in half. You’ll end up with a target 5.5 x 8.5 inches. Repeat the three strings. You should have nine hits on the half sheet of paper.
Assuming you have all nine hits on the half sheet, fold another sheet of paper in half twice. This time your target will be 4.25 x 5.5 inches. Shoot the three strings again.
Now you’ve done a good 27 round workout that is ‘Reality Based.’
When you get home, put your gun away. Get out your Blue Gun, Nerf gun, or water pistol and do some ‘when to shoot’ exercises.
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My favorite story from Real Shootouts of the LAPD is a hero story. Recently, it’s become fashionable to berate POlice officers, imply that everything they do is horrible and corrupt, and call for the POlice to be ‘defunded.’ Rarely does the media focus on the heroic acts that officers are sometimes called upon to do for the public. This story is one example.
OFFICER-INVOLVED ANIMAL SHOOTING – 035-14
The entire Public Report is available at the link above. Here’s a synopsis of the incident.
Officer A, later identified as Officer Jennifer Aguila, and her companion Officer B were off duty and had just arrived home from grocery shopping. When they arrived home, Officer Aguila noticed two neighbors outside their home acting frantically.
Officer Aguila went over and asked if they needed help. One neighbor replied that he was locked out of his house and his pit bull dog was attacking his four year old child inside. The neighbor said the back door was open but apparently it was not readily accessible from the front of the house because rose bushes blocked off the back yard. Officer Aguila immediately took action. She jumped over the neighbor’s fence and picked up a small stick.
Since the animal was a pit bull, Officer Aguila told Officer B to bring her an off-duty snub nose revolver from the car. Officer B brought the revolver and tossed it over the fence to Officer Aguila. She then made her way to the back. To get to the back door, she had to plow through the rose bushes that blocked off the yard.
Through the partially open sliding back door, Officer Aguila observed that the floor was covered in blood and the pit bull was next to the child, attacking it. According to the Board of POlice Commissioner’s report, “the pit bull was removing and eating the child’s flesh.”
Office Aguila discarded the stick and scanned the room for other dogs but saw none. The BOPC report reads:
Officer A moved into the living room with the revolver in a two-hand low-ready position. In defense of the child’s life, Officer A fired four shots at the pit bull in a northwest direction at a downward angle. Officer A fired on the move, from a decreasing distance of approximately twelve to seven feet.LAPD Board of POlice Commissioners
To save a child’s life, she made entry, closed with, and did battle with a large, vicious, literally ‘man-eating’ dog. Her weapon was what is commonly referred to as an “arm’s length gun,” a snub nose revolver.
After the first four shots, the badly injured child stood up and, in a disoriented manner, began to walk toward the dog. Fearing the wounded animal would again attack the child, Officer Aguila then closed to within three feet of the dog and used her final round to deliver a coup de grâce into the dog’s rib cage.
Officer Aguila then picked up the child, went outside, gave it to its parent, and had them call for a Rescue Ambulance. When the parent was unable to provide first aid for the child, Officer Aguila took the child back and applied direct pressure to the child’s wounds until the ambulance arrived.
If that’s not a hero, I don’t know who is.
News reports https://www.dailybulletin.com/2014/07/08/fontana-family-pit-bull-mauls-4-year-old-child/ indicate that the child was badly injured in the attack. Both his ears were severed, one completely, and one left hanging by a strip of flesh. The severed ear was found under the dog by another officer. The child also had numerous puncture wounds to the head and face. Odds are that without Officer Aguila’s intervention, he would have been killed. The severed ear was successfully re-attached by surgeons because the officer who found it immediately put it on ice and took it to the hospital.
The BOPC Public Report says the Officer Aguila had been an LAPD officer for 2 years and 7 months.
Not all the stories in the book are hero stories but that one is. I enjoy stories about real heroes so I had to include that one.
Any time a Los Angeles Police Officer fires his or her weapon, whether on or off duty, a thorough investigation of the incident is conducted and then reviewed by the LAPD Board of Police Commissioners. The Board has provided unprecedented transparency by posting Summaries of those investigations for every firearm discharge since 2005.
This book is a collection and analysis of those reports. They are stories of Officer Involved Shootings, Officer Involved Animal Shootings, and Unintentional Discharges drawn directly from those reports. The Public Reports also include the Board’s Findings (rulings) as to whether the incident was In Policy or Out of Policy. Contrary to popular belief, not all LAPD Shootouts are ruled to be In Policy.
For the Armed Citizen, these reports and the analyses provide valuable information about what really happens before, during, and after the gunfire. This first volume covers Off Duty incidents so the situations are very similar to those faced daily by The Armed Citizens. This book gives us the opportunity to learn from the experiences of highly trained police officers about what to do when criminals come for you.
For those who are just interested in the challenges police officers face, this is also a book you will enjoy.
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The LAPD Categorical Use Of Force report about the UD of a snub revolver http://www.lapdonline.org/assets/pdf/040-19%20PR%20(NTUD).pdf generated a fair amount of interest. Here’s a follow-on idea.
These three Lessons To Be Learned From The Incident were mentioned last time.
- 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.
Keeping a speedloader filled with dummy rounds accessible allows you to accomplish all three of these tasks. You could do the same thing with a Speed Strip, pouch, or loops.
- Put your speedloader where you might carry it. If you don’t habitually carry a speedloader for your reload, just put it in your pocket.
- Eject the live rounds from your revolver on the ground.
- Reload with the dummies using the speedloader.
- Holster your revolver.
- Put the live rounds in the speedloader and secure it with your other live ammunition.
- Go to your dry practice area, which is a place where there is no live ammunition.
- When you have finished your dry practice, put your revolver away without reloading it.
- Do something else to remove dry practice from your thoughts.
- When dry practice is distant from your thoughts, reverse the reloading process and reload your revolver with the live ammunition. Replace the dummy rounds in the speedloader. This gives you a reminder that your revolver is now loaded with live ammunition.
- Put your revolver away or immediately exit your home to preclude the last repetition that makes a loud noise.
Using this procedure helps protect you, your gun, and gets in two good reloading repetitions.
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.
We can use our time at home productively during the Beer Plague by doing some dry practice. Here’s a regimen for snub revolvers that’s quick and useful. It’s derived from the LAPD Back Up Firearm Qualification Course. There are two targets at 3 yards.
From a concealed holster, using two hands, draw and snap twice on the right target, twice on the left target, then one snap on the right head.
From a concealed holster, using two hands, draw and snap twice on the left target, twice on the right target, then one snap on the left head.
From a concealed holster, using the Primary hand only, draw and snap twice on the right target, twice on the left target, then one snap on the right head.
From a concealed holster, using the Primary hand only, draw and snap twice on the left target, twice on the right target, then one snap on the left head.
From Low Ready, using the Support hand only, snap twice on the right target, twice on the left target, then one snap on the right head.
From Low Ready, using the Support hand only, snap twice on the left target, twice on the right target, then one snap on the left head.
You can use fired cases as snap caps to protect the hammer nose (firing pin). Marking the case head with a black Sharpie provides a visual indicator that the case is a snap cap and not a wadcutter. Having a specific container for them keeps them easily accessible.
The Mingle is an Invite Only Ladies event for women in the firearms and personal protection industries. It is hosted by The Complete Combatant and sponsored by numerous organizations and manufacturers of the industry. The 2019 Mingle was held on May 18-19. This was the first year that it was a two day event. Day 1, as in years past, was a networking event featuring a short presentation by a guest speaker. This year’s speaker was Chief Deputy Lee Weems of the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. He gave an abbreviated version of his ‘Standing Your Ground’ class, which is about the dynamics of using deadly force. Lee’s presentation was sponsored by the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network.
After the presentation, a buffet lunch was served and the ladies had some time for networking. Approximately 60 ladies attended and had a good opportunity to meet others from their own and other segments of the industry. At the end of the event, a multitude of door prizes was given away, including a Glock pistol. Each attendee also received a goodie bag with various and sundry small items.
This was the first year that a second day was added. Day 2 was devoted to live fire training at The Complete Combatant’s Dahlonega Georgia range. Day 2 was limited to 24 ladies who had to either be instructors or have had attended a previous training class of some sort.
The day’s events started with a demonstration and trial fire of the VP9 pistol by Heckler & Koch. H&K presented a short briefing about the pistol and then provided both pistols and ammunition for the attendees to try out.
The balance of the day’s activities consisted of three blocks of instruction and finally a short Qualification Course for the ladies to fire at the end of the day. Each block was two hours, with a lunch break between the first and the second. The Qualification was conducted concurrent with the third block. Each lady brought her own pistol and holster. All the major pistol manufacturers were represented in the ladies’ choices. They shot approximately 300 rounds during the day.
The first block of instruction was Developing the Concealed Draw by Brian Hill, head coach of The Complete Combatant. This class focused on Fundamentals and developing a repeatable, efficient, and accurate draw stroke. Some of the ladies had not drawn from a holster previous to Day 2, so this was an important piece of instruction.
Second came Close Range Precision Marksmanship by Claude Werner, the Tactical Professor. This class focused on developing the ability to accurately engage small targets within conversational distance.
Several innovative targets from Advanced Pistol Practice were included in the class to provide a more realistic approach to target engagement.
The final block of instruction was Image Based Decision Drills by Shelley Hill of The Complete Combatant. Each lady had to react to four different scenarios based on images on cards they turned over at random. The scenarios required a variety of responses ranging from disengagement to using deadly force. Tools such as inert cell phones, flashlights, and pepper spray were included in the drills.
The group was split into two and while half were doing the Image Based Decision Drills, the other half shot a short Qualification Course derived from the Los Angeles POlice Department’s Retired Officer Course. In this Qualification, the shooters had to use several different skills.
- Draw from a holster and Shoot
- Challenge an attacker
- Shoot from Low Ready
- Shoot with the Dominant Hand Only
- Make a Head Shot
It was a challenging course but all the ladies were able to make the requisite 70% passing score. Several made clean runs.
After the shooting tasks were completed, the ladies cleaned up the range, had a short debrief of the day, and then departed. All the ladies said the day had been an enjoyable and enlightening experience.
The Mingle 2020 will be held May 16-17, 2020. Interested ladies should contact The Complete Combatant for an invitation.
In the midst of the hullabaloo recently, a major historical even has been largely overlooked.
On February 28, 1997, a huge shootout took place in North Hollywood (Los Angeles) California. On one side were two heavily armed and armored bank robbers. On the other side were hundreds of Los Angeles Police Officers. The shootout lasted about 45 minutes and estimates of the rounds fired go to almost 2,000. In the end, both robbers were killed and numerous police officers were injured, fortunately, none fatally.
In a short CNN video presentation, Rick Massa, former LAPD SWAT Officer who was on the scene, commented:
“If this were to happen today, this would be over before SWAT would get there. As a result of the shooting, there are rifles in all the police cars, in all of the stations, all police officers are trained with assault rifles, to be able to handle this type of a situation.”
However, the recent events have shown us that’s not true at all. Changing tools and tactics don’t really change policing. As with any large group or organization, culture and people are the agents of change
What do you teach the students in your classes, Claude?
That question was posed to me recently by an older gentleman at my gun club.
I teach them how to handle guns safely and how to hit the target, Ray.
He looked at me quizzically when I said that. He’s a competent shooter who can hit a six inch plate at 50 yards with a handgun. I could tell he didn’t understand so I told him a story.
I received a call a while ago from a range I used to teach at, which has subsequently burned down. The call was from the guy working the counter where they sign people into the range. “Can you come down right now and give a lady with a snub nose revolver a lesson right now? She will pay you and she’s willing to wait for you to get here.” It was 20 minutes away so I grabbed my gear and went.
The lady had a very nice 2 inch Model 15 Combat Masterpiece. She had purchased it at a gun shop when her husband died. This was her second visit to the range to ‘practice.’
A friend of mine emailed me the following question.
Claude, what device do you use to make a digital audio recording? How do you transfer the digital recording to your computer?
I had mentioned to him the recording I recently made for an Enhanced Standard version, i.e., not so easy I could pass it blindfolded, of the State of Ill-Annoy Police Qualification Course. I made the recording for dryfire practice but I could use it for livefire, too.
One of the few apps I have on my phone is an audio recorder called Mini Recorder Free. I have a Windows phone but the app is also available for Android. It’s very easy to use and records the input as MP3 files.
First, I look at a course of fire and write a script for the recording. When I’m happy with the script, I record the narration of the course of fire, usually as one file. Where the beeps are supposed to go, I say ‘beep beep’ as a place marker.
Then I record the beeps from my CED 6000 timer by putting the microphone next to the timer. Each of the different times is recorded as a single set of beeps. I can insert each beep file multiple times into the narrative, where that’s appropriate.
I connect my phone to my computer and copy the narrative and beep files to the computer. Finally, I edit them together with Wavepad Sound Editor, which I downloaded from the Internet. Undesirable noises get edited out and I standardize the spacing between the stages so there’s enough time to re-holster, change hands, or do other preparatory work for each string.
Since I don’t have a 15 yard range in my apartment, I create reduced scale targets to use for dryfire. I create the targets by scaling them with Excel.
A reduced scale target also allows me to conceal my target when I’m not dryfiring, which is something I believe in very strongly. The 12 shot drill is on the back of my wall hanging.
On some of my recordings, I substitute a gunshot sound for the start beep. It just depends on how involved I want to make the recording. For my dryfire recording of the LAPD Bonus Course, I downloaded an audio file of the actual course being shot on the LAPD range. I had to clean that one up a lot but it’s fun to dryfire to because there’s all the range noise, LAPD Rangemaster commands (which sound like a subway conductor), sounds of empty magazines hitting the ground, and gunfire in the background. That’s as close as I can get to an actual range experience in my living room dryfire practice area.
A few of the recordings stay on my phone to use when I’m traveling. I also keep a PDF of the target on my phone so I can print it if I forget to take one along. It fits on one page so it’s easy to print in a motel business center. ISP 7 foot target
At this year’s Rangemaster Tactical Conference, someone mentioned wrapping a zip tie with a piece of colored duct tape on it as a safety insert. It’s a great idea and I’m using that now along with the Rogers Tap-Rack-Trainer. A round can’t be chambered with the tie in place. No disassembly of the gun necessary to put it in and it’s easy to take out, too. A bag of 8 inch ties costs about $2. The zip tie isn’t a snap cap, though, so keep that in mind.
The audio recording of the ISP Course I created is available as a download for 99 cents on my CDBaby store if you don’t feel like doing all that. There are a number of other recordings of interest, too.