Attempted Contact Shot

23 Aug 07

More on the subject. This is from a fellow Training Officer with a large PD:

"Two of our patrol officers were just involved (Tuesday) in what was nearly a lethal fight with a robbery suspect in, of all places, a fast-food restaurant bathroom!

Our officer was in foot-pursuit of a single, bank-robber suspect. The suspect had at least one pistol with him that he had used to threaten bank employees. He ran into a local fast-food restaurant and hid in the restroom. Our fleet-footed officer was right on top of him. When he made physical contact, the suspect stuck his pistol in the officer's stomach. However, our officer responded instantly by grabbing the suspect's gun and prevented itfrom pointing at him. The suspect's pistol never discharged.

The suspect, large and muscular, bit and fought, trying his best to get back control of his pistol, but was unable to. Our officer was more than a match for him, but both the officer's hands were occupied, and he was unable to get to his own pistol.

A second officer entered bathroom moments behind the first. Seeing what was going on, he jammed his own service pistol (G22) into the side of the suspect 's head and immediately attempted to fire. The pistol did not fire, because the slide was pushed out of battery far enough to engage the disconnector. The astonished officer, not understanding why his pistol would not fire, abandoned efforts to shoot the suspect, and, using his pistol as a club, savagely beat the suspect's head until the suspect, by then pleading for the beating to stop, relinquished control of his own pistol and surrendered.

The suspect was taken into custody without further resistance. He suffered several cuts but no serious injury. Our officers are okay, but shook-up, as you might imagine!

Both these officers have been on the job for less than two years. During my investigation, I apologized to both that, during their academy training, they were apparently never told that their Glock pistols would not fire with the slide out of battery. Indeed, the subject of contact-shooting was scarcely addressed at all. The Academy curriculum is currently being updated/corrected with regard to that.

However, neither officer carried a serious blade nor a back-up pistol, despite the fact that their academy training did extensively address those subjects. I instructed both to get serious blades and back-up guns into their lives straightaway, before something like this happens to them again!"

Comment: We have a grossly inadequate amount of time to train young police officers, and lethal-force training, it seems, is always least important inthe eyes of many academy administrators, training administrators, and chiefs of police. For example, in the case of these two officers, the subject of contact-shooting was never even mentioned. The omission nearly cost themtheir lives!

Had the second officer's pistol discharged into the suspect's cranium when he intended for it to, the fight would have almost certainly ended instantly. However, as mentioned in recent Quips, when attempting contact shots using an autoloading pistol, there is always the danger (as in the above case) that the slide will be pushed out of battery, preventing the pistol from firing at all. And, even when the pistol does discharge as planned, there is the danger that bone chips, particles of skin and other bodily tissues, and blood will be blasted into the pistol, preventing it from firing a second shot.

There are several methods for addressing these issues, from physically holding the slide forward with the support-side hand as the trigger is pressed, to withdrawing the pistol, performing a tap-rack-resume, and immediately attempting to fire again, to posthaste transitioning to a back-up revolver and re-performing the contact shot. All are valid. None are perfect. This issue is one with which Operators need to be familiar, and which academies need to teach, along with knife-fighting and other life-saving skills!


created by

Copyright © 2007 by DTI, Inc. All rights reserved.
created on Thursday August 23, 2007 23:59:2 MST