You fight like you train, right? Well, when the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department decided to transition from the ancient SA/DA Beretta 92F to a more responsive Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm, it seems the old training stuck… Too well.
Academy trainees in Los Angeles County began training with M&P 9mm in 2011.
In 2012, there were twelve firearm related negligent discharges reported from the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department – none involving Smith and Wesson’s full size service pistol. By 2013, more deputies had switched over to the new model. There were eighteen negligent discharges – eight from the M&P alone.
According to the most recent statistics published by LASD for 2014 – Deputies and Sheriffs had a combined total of thirty negligent discharges. The vast majority, in this case, came from M&Ps. Is it a faulty gun or is it training?
LASD Trained ‘On Target, On Trigger’? Skipped ‘Target’.
Officers are humans, too. They grow complacent. They forget training. They get lazy and stressed just like the rest of us. And according to a recent article in the LA Times, they may have not been receiving the best of training the first place.
And that can be embarrassing when, at a traffic stop, you shoot yourself in the thigh even before you get out of your own patrol car.
via LA Times
…A Lancaster deputy was following a driver he suspected of having a gun. When the man got out and walked toward the patrol car, the deputy took off his seat belt and was pulling out his M&P when he fired it into his own thigh.
With the much heavier trigger pull required by the Beretta 92, trigger discipline – instilled within every single member of the armed forces that use the Beretta M9 – was somehow overlooked by law enforcement training authorities in L.A. County.
Who needs trigger discipline or the four fundamental rules of firearm safety, anyways?!
And L.A. County isn’t alone. NYPD also made the switch to a similarly striker-fired Glock and found a sudden spike in officer-related negligent discharges. Unlike LASD, some even resulted in the deaths of completely innocent bystanders.
[NYPD Officer] Liang drew a flashlight and his weapon “for safety reasons,” the police commissioner said. The other officer did not draw his gun.
In the darkened stairwell, Liang’s gun discharged about the same time that [Akai] Gurley, the father of a 2-year-old child, and his girlfriend were entering the seventh-floor landing, Bratton said.
While a negligent discharge resulting in the loss of life is troublesome, more troubling still is the NYPD’s move to stiffen the trigger on their newly issued Glocks. The better question is why is a finger on the trigger until you’re ready to fire?!
Marksmanship Improves With M&P – Fundamentals Ignored
In the quest to find a faster, lighter, easier to grip and more responsive firearm for law enforcement, many departments inevitably turn to striker-fired Smith & Wessons. Affordable and reliable, their only real complaint before then was with Texas’ Department of Public Safety which reported a vague malfunction cropping up after 3,000 rounds or so.
The agency decided to halt the use of the new handguns after a couple of the weapons experienced slight movement of less than 10 microns after repeated firing of about 3,000 rounds, [Tom] Vinger [DPS Spokesperson] said.
A micron is one-millionth of a meter. Movement in a gun could affect accuracy. There were also bullet “feeding and ejection” issues. None of the performance issues resulted in any injuries. And so far, DPS has not been able to replicate these issues in subsequent testing, Vinger said.
Could it be the ammo? The training? What other excuses are going to be piled onto a pistol that’s become a national favorite amongst concealed carriers?
How to Know if Your M&P is Defective…
Here’s a couple simple ways to determine if you’re shooting like a Los Angeles County Deputy or NYPD rookie:
- Do you put your finger on the trigger before you’re ready to fire?
- Do you treat every weapon as if it’s unloaded?
- Do you point your weapon at things you don’t intend to shoot?
- Do you not care what’s in front of or behind your target?
If you answered yes to all of these, you may want to consider switching to a top-of-the-line Glock 17 100% polymer pistol shown below.
It’s available in bright training blue and it has no movable parts. Make sure to take your existing M&P or service Glock and lock it in a safe container until you’re able to get proper instruction on how to handle a firearm.