The Los Angeles Times has published an editorial this morning that is sure to cause some uncomfortable conversations (and more than a little denial) in law enforcement agencies around the country: In terms of mechanical design, there are few flaws with Glock pistols. If a law enforcement officer, soldier or citizen does exactly what they …
I respectfully disagree with Bob on this one…
I have been carrying a Glock for a long time, yet over my years of training and deploying with various organizations I have carried and conducted a lot of training with a fair number of guns other than Glocks.
The comment “Agencies that switch away from Glocks to more forgiving designs typically see their negligent discharges decrease” is telling, because it doesn’t say “negligent discharges are eliminated.”
In other words, this appears to be a systematic problem, and even with guns that have safeties – negligent discharges are not eliminated.
Having myself trained a lot of civilians, military, local LEA, and federal agencies, I agree with Bob when he states “It has been proven time and again that no amount of training will eliminate the issue.”
However, while it is true that one can’t eliminate all risk associated with firearms and firearms training (not without jeopardizing the essential qualities and benefits of training), one can take actions to significantly mitigate risk.
Having been in and around the military and professionals of all stripes over the past 30-years (many who use Glock at work and at home), I believe, like many of my counterparts do; that proper training is everything, and the safety on a firearm plays no role in the overall safety of the shooter.
I have learned that it is always best to address the core issue in order to fix the symptom. In this case, the core issue seems to be the trigger finger going onto the trigger with a negligent discharge resulting.
If an organization is seeing negligent discharges in around clearing barrels/cleaning rooms, it says more about their proper loading, unloading, and clearing procedures (training) than it does about whether or not the firearm had a safety on it or not when the negligent discharge occurred.
Similarly, having a negligent discharge (with or without safeties), under duress suggest that that that the training program needs to be evaluated.
Furthermore, while proper training in vital stress resistant gun-handling skills and safety habits (like keeping one’s finger off the trigger until ready to shoot), can be taught and practiced the range; the proper application of those skills under the duress of a lethal force encounter can’t be taught on the range, in a shoot house, or on a video game screen.
To make the training stick, the techniques must not only be tempered with a quality stress inducing Reality Based Training program, the training must be ongoing.
From my experience, it seems this article clearly describes a training issue, and I would be willing to put money on that.
The proper fix is most likely a better training program which integrates RBT at various points in the training. Proper scenarios will gain the student “stress inoculation” and help to keep the fingers off triggers and muzzles oriented safely until they no longer need to be, safeties or not.