In a previous post https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/08/17/the-sandra-ochoa-incident-shooting-analysis/, I discussed Officer A’s shooting performance during the incident. The weapon system manipulation aspects also bear discussion.
This incident forced Officer A to manipulate two different flashlights in rapid succession. He approached the scene with a hand held light, which most industry professionals would consider a best practice. At the gate, he immediately had to make a SHOOT decision and held onto his handheld light while shooting using his weapon mounted light. His shooting grip was compromised as a result. This image capture is from immediately after his sixth shot.
It’s apparent he is holding onto his handheld light with the ring and little fingers of his Support (left) Hand and trying to wrap his index and middle fingers around his pistol. The compromised grip may have been part of the reason for his low hit rate with the first five shots. This observation is not a criticism of Officer A, rather it’s a recognition of the complexity of the manipulation problem he encountered. Having and rapidly using two different types of flashlight in succession is not a training drill we often practice, myself included.
As is often the case, technology has advanced more rapidly than practical doctrine for using it. Several possibilities arise for using the two lights.
- Simply do the best you can with what you’ve got, as Officer A was forced to do.
- Shoot one handed, while maintaining control of the handheld light in the Support Hand.
- Drop the handheld, shoot with the weapon mounted light, and then retrieve the handheld light when necessary or feasible.
- Have the handheld on a large flexible ring that allows it to be dropped without losing total control of it. This is the approach I am currently experimenting with.
It’s worth noting that one incident in Real Shootouts of the LAPD involved the use of a flashlight. Also, some of the tragedies referenced in Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make could have been averted by the use of a flashlight. The Ochoa Incident gives us some food for thought about the need for doctrine and practice with flashlights.
Other Tactical Professor books (all PDF)
- Thinking Clearly about Self-defense and Personal Protection https://www.payloadz.com/go?id=3377208
- 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 Thinking Clearly about Self-defense and Personal Protection, Serious Mistakes, Indoor Sessions, Concealed Carry, and Shooting Your Black Rifle (50% off) https://store.payloadz.com/details/2644448-ebooks-sports-shooting-drills-package.html
An interesting aspect of reading Use of Force reports by different POlice departments is seeing their varying views about how to interpret the incidents. While the LAPD provides a very detailed analysis of officer marksmanship for each incident, the NYPD has a quite different view, at least in its public releases.
“Objective Completion Rate
The [NYPD] does not calculate ‘hit percentage’ when describing ID-AC [Intentional Discharge – Adversarial Conflict] incidents. The NYPD uses an ‘objective completion rate’ per incident to determine the effectiveness of police firearms discharges. When a uniformed member properly and lawfully perceives a threat severe enough to require the use of a firearm and fires properly and lawfully at a specific threat, the most relevant measure of success is whether the member ultimately stops the threat. This is the objective completion rate. Regardless of the number of shots that strike a particular subject, the objective is considered completed when the actions of the subject that threaten imminent serious physical injury or death are stopped by a member’s use of deadly physical force, i.e., a subject stops their threatening actions after being shot.
In 2019, uniformed members of the service successfully stopped the threat by discharging their weapons in 24 of the 25 ID-AC incidents, with at least one subject shot in each of those 24 incidents, for an objective completion rate of 96%. The objective completion rate is used for statistical and informational purposes, and is not a factor considered in the investigation of the individual incidents.”
In other words, when the officer actually hit the “subject/perpetrator/assailant” with at least one round, the objective of stopping the Violent Criminal Actor’s action was achieved.
Unlike the LAPD analysis, NYPD data doesn’t provide us information that’s useful in terms of developing physical skills. However, it does provide us with an interesting philosophical viewpoint on what’s important in Defensive Gun Uses. Our ‘objective’ as Private Citizens is exactly the same as for officers of the NYPD, whether we call it “stopping the threat,” “breaking contact,” or use some other term.
The initial post about Breaking Contact (Part I) is located here:
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Reading about Real Life incidents, such the LAPD Categorical Use of Force reports, is interesting but what good is it if we don’t put some of the lessons learned into practice? One way to make that knowledge actionable is to translate the incident report into a Course of Fire that we could actually shoot. The various action shooting sports, such as IDPA, USPSA, etc., call this Stage Design.
Here’s an example based on one of the incidents in Real Shootouts of the LAPD.
Categorical Use of Force Incident – 011-11
(full original report linked above)
The Board of Police Commissioners Incident summarized the incident as follows:
Off-duty Officer A was leaving a residence. Officer A walked out to his vehicle, which was parked in the driveway. Officer A did not see anybody as he walked to his vehicle. Officer A had his duty weapon in his right front pants pocket at the time.
Officer A backed his vehicle up, leaving the vehicle running with the lights on, while he walked back to close the driveway gate. Officer A saw the Subject walking toward him on the sidewalk. The Subject then started to run in his direction. As the Subject got closer, Officer A saw a handgun in the Subject’s hand. The Subject then pointed it at Officer A. Officer A drew his pistol from his pocket and fired one round at the Subject.
The Subject continued to point the gun at Officer A, so Officer A fired a second round. The Subject passed in front of Officer A’s vehicle before collapsing on the sidewalk, behind a short block wall. Officer A believed the Subject had been shot but could not see him, so Officer A did not try and approach the Subject, pending the arrival of assistance.
Officer A ran toward the back door of the home, while covering the Subject’s last known position. Officer A called 9-1-1. While speaking to the Operator and waiting for the first unit to arrive, Officer A saw a male approach the Subject. The male squatted down near the Subject and Officer A lost sight of him. The male then stood back up, adjusted his shirt, and walked away. Officer A saw two other males walk over to the Subject, lean over him momentarily, then stand back up and walk away. Upon the arrival of assisting officers, the officers were unable to locate the Subject’s weapon.LAPD Board of Police Commissioners
To design a Stage from this Summary, we would extract Officer A’s actions, step by step. For clarity, each step is italicized in the above report.
Sequence of events for scenario development of 011-11
- While standing at P1, draw pistol from concealment and fire one round at T1 (7 yards).
- Fire one round at T2 (5 yards).
- Retreat to cover at P2 and point pistol at P3.
- Call 911, giving your location, while continuing to maintain pistol pointed at P3.
We can then create a diagram of what that would look like. Someone who was going to shoot it would know step by step what they had to do.
Based on the diagram, we can then replicate what Officer A had to do to keep from getting victimized or killed. While Stages created based on ‘Real Life’ tend to be much less lurid than the Stages shot in organized competition, they do give us an idea of what we might need to do to keep ourselves from being victimized or killed.
The LAPD Board of Police Commissioners made the following Findings about the actions of this Officer A.
The BOPC found Officer A’s tactics to warrant a Tactical Debrief. (This is required after any Officer Involved Shooting.)
- Drawing and Exhibiting
The BOPC found Officer A’s drawing and exhibiting a firearm to be In policy.
- Lethal Use of Force
The BOPC found Officer A’s use of lethal force to be In policy.
If you would like to read the book and create your own Courses of Fire from it, simply click on the book cover below.
‘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.
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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.