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.
Family mourns loss of single father of two girls
The number of people who feel obligated to Intervene in other people’s quarrels simply amazes me. Someone commented on my Tactical Professor Facebook page that “Society is a better place when people practice self sacrifice.” That’s not the way our ‘system’ in America is set up. The American system of social controls has changed a great deal over the course of our history as a nation. At one time, we had to help each other. Unfortunately, the evolution of the Criminal Justice arena (and I use the word arena deliberately) during the 20th and 21st Centuries means, with regard to intervention in criminal events we are not directly involved in, that time is long past. Even the POlice take a risk when they intervene in others’ affairs despite the fact that it’s their job, they are equipped for it, and they have legal protections for doing so.
Your family is depending on you and they are your first and foremost obligation. No one will be a better father or mother to your children than you are. Don’t jeopardize that long term relationship for the short term gratification of Intervention for which you are unlikely to receive any thanks anyway. Intervention is all risk and little to no reward. No benefit accrues to the person intervening on another’s behalf.
Crusading against Intervention has become a big issue for me since I began researching Negative Outcomes. Much like advocating taking a Defensive Driving Course, it’s largely Quixoteish but I feel the need anyway. It’s my own form of Intervention, I guess.
Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own.
At one time, I had it in my mind that Intervention was a good idea but my Father always advised me against it. When I was a teenager, he told me about a guy he knew who was stabbed to death during the course of an Intervention just like the incident above.
Don’t get involved, Son.
Over time, I realized that it was one of those issues where the older I got, the smarter my Father became. My research into Serious Mistakes completely confirmed the wisdom of what he told me. The Intervention section of my Negative Outcomes database is huge. Some of those Negative Outcomes are so bizarre and so unexpected that they bring to mind something the Real Dr. House mentioned at last weekend’s Hemorrhage Arrest Course.
The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to make sense.
Of all the books I’ve written, I still think Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make is the most important. Life is a minefield in many ways. Knowing what they look like helps to prevent you from stepping on one.
Tactical Professor books
Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com
Indoor Range Practice Sessions downloadable eBook. http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com
Concealed Carry Skills and Drills downloadable eBook. http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com
Advanced Pistol Practice http://bit.ly/advancedpistolpractice
Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com/
Any of the books are easily converted for Kindle use.