Skip to comments.NYPD: A Dangerous Philosophy [Mandatory 12-pound triggers]
Posted on 03/06/2014 4:14:16 AM PST by servo1969
On February 27, 2014, Bearing Arms Editor Bob Owens wrote an article asking one of the more relevant questions extant: Does the NYPD Have A Training Problem? Bobs article tells the story of two rookie NYPD officers who, pursuing a pair of fleeing criminals, fired a total of seven shots and entirely missed the criminal that had turned and fired at them. Unfortunately, the criminals marksmanship was far superior and he, firing three rounds, hit one of the officers with all three, once in each leg and once in the groin. The officer is recovering. The NYPD is not publicizing what, if anything, the officers did hit, but this time, they apparently did not shoot any innocent bystanders. That has not been the case of late.
August 21, 2012: Chasing a man who had only moments before shot and killed someone, two police officers caught up to the man who turned and pointed a handgun at them. They fired a total of sixteen rounds and did hit and stop the killer, but in the process, managed to shoot and wound nine bystanders. I wrote a three part series at the time. In the first article, a link to actual security camera footage of the shooting is available. The two follow up articles are available here and here.
September 28, 2013: Two NYPD officers dealing with an emotionally disturbed man thought he was pulling a gun out of his pocket–he wasnt–and fired three rounds at him from close range, all of which missed. Instead, they shot two bystanders, one of whom was using a walker. Of course, they shot her in the leg. My contemporaneous article on that incident is available here.
December 08, 2013: I published a follow up article wherein I reported that NYC authorities charged the man they missed with assault because they shot two innocent women trying to shoot him.
The invaluable Mark Steyn commented:
Ah, yes: the situation injured the innocent bystanders. If you outlaw guns, only situations will have guns.
The defendant is looking at 25 years in jail for the crime of provoking law enforcement into shooting random citizens. If this flies in New York, then there is no law.
Bob is right. The NYPD definitely has a training problem, but the problem runs much more deeply. In fact, this is an abject lesson in the damage socialism causes, specifically, when socialist do-gooders try to help people, they virtually always cause enormous harm. We begin with the firearms NYPD officers are forced to carry:
This is the Smith and Wesson model 5946. A 9mm handgun, it is one of the older weapons in the Smith and Wesson catalog. It is a double action only pistol.
This is the Sig Sauer P226. This photo shows a standard double action Sig. The NYPD version has a bobbed hammer, and cannot be fired single action. Like the Smith, it too is a double action only gun.
This is the most modern handgun in the NYPD inventory, the Glock 17. It has the unique Glock safe action mechanism, and is most likely the best of the three options, but it too is seriously handicapped and is actually dangerous.
Why is it dangerous? Because the NYPD mandates 12 pound triggers.
This renders the Glock, which has a standard 5.5 pound trigger with a relatively short trigger pull, far more difficult to shoot with any degree of accuracy. The Sig and Smith are even more difficult to shoot well with 12 pound triggers. All three are chambered in 9mm. Most police agencies that issue Glocks specify the standard trigger, which, considering the excellent safety record of police-issued Glocks, is entirely reasonable.
Double action semiautomatic pistols were developed in large part to capture the lucrative police market. In the 70s, most American police agencies carried double action revolvers, whose heavy, rough and long trigger pulls–easily in the 12 pound range–produced predictably poor results. Officers involve in shootings commonly managed to hit their targets, even at inside-a-phone-booth ranges, no more than 25% of the time.
This was also true, and is true today, because most police officers are not gun guys and girls. Many officers shoot their issued handguns only when necessary for qualifications–commonly only once a year–and clean their weapons far less often. Many police officers dont own personal weapons, and many dont carry any handgun off duty. Skill with handguns, and particularly revolvers requires constant and serious practice. Most police officers aren’t willing to do that.
Police executives were scared to death of the pistols available in the 70s, which were primarily the Colt 1911 and Browning Hi-Power, both single action pistols correctly carried cocked and locked. The sight of those cocked hammers sent shivers up their spine and made their knees weak, so manufacturers developed double action mechanisms so that they functioned more or less like revolvers, except they didnt. After the first, vague, long and heavy double action trigger pull, the second and subsequent shots have a short, light pull, generally making the impact points of at least the first two shots far apart indeed.
Col. Jeff Cooper called double action pistols an ingenious solution to a non-existent problem. And so they were. Police agencies transitioning to them found that they produced their own handling and accuracy problems, though qualification scores and actual shooting results did tend to improve.
With the introduction of Glocks, police agencies found weapons that were not only easy to shoot well, but that significantly increased qualification scores and actual hit percentages. In my own police experience, officers transitioning from the S&W Model 686 .357 Magnum to the Glock 22 in .40 S&W were amazed. Officers that could barely qualify in two or three tries with their revolvers, even with generous passing scores, could easily pass with the Glocks. Excellent shooters found the Glocks very easy to shoot well. They had to work only a fraction as hard to achieve excellent results with the Glock than they did with their revolvers. But that was Glocks with 5.5 pound standard triggers.
And so we return to the NYPD, a department long subject to the political whims of politicians. Even Republican mayors have hardly been ardent Second Amendment supporters. Generally, New York politicians distrust and dislike the police, gun owners, and guns. Police executives are virtually always people chosen more for their willingness to play ball politically than for their experience. A great deal of knowledge about firearms and tactics is not a matter of concern for those that hire them.
And so NYPD officers work for people who not only know little about firearms, but may actively hate them and distrust their own officers. Thus, they mandate 12- pound triggers on their theory the guns will be safer because they are so hard to shoot. This, to their way of thinking, will reduce the number of accidental discharges. As I note in the second article of the three part series, even the NYPD admits that the 12-pound triggers reduce accuracy, but they mandate them all the same even though they cause officers to miss suspects and perforate the innocent.
The triggers are a major factor, but are not entirely to blame. The NYPD apparently does not teach the Weaver stance, or at least, does not train in it to any standard of proficiency. Its internal documents admit that only about half of officers involved in shootings fired with any kind of two-handed grip. As late as 1992, overall officer hit potential was only 17%, and only 28% at 3 yards–9 feet–and closer.
Remember that in New York City, the Second Amendment is still not recognized by the government. Only the wealthy, famous and politically connected are allowed to carry concealed weapons. Unfortunately, not only are the police highly unlikely to be able to protect any individual, they have no legal duty to do so. In fact, considering their equipment and obviously minimal training, theyre as likely to shoot innocent bystanders as criminals.
New Yorkers should understand:
(1) Most police officers are not gun guys and girls. They own few, if any firearms, and seldom, if ever, practice. A great many citizens are far better shooters and tacticians.
(2) Most police officers fire their handguns only once a year for mandatory qualifications. Most clean their handguns less often.
(3) Most qualification courses of fire have generous passing scores, involve only stationary targets at known–and short–ranges, and officers are allowed to shoot as many times as necessary to pass. Many have to shoot many times. Twelve-pound triggers remove any advantage officers might derive from semiautomatic pistols.
(4) Many law enforcement agencies use only cheaper practice ammunition for qualifications. It produces much less muzzle flash, recoil and report than duty ammunition. As a result, many officers have fired their duty guns with duty ammunition only once or twice. When they have to fire their guns under stress, the recoil, muzzle-flash and report shock them, contributing to terrible accuracy.
(5) New York City political forces are generally virulently anti-gun, with all of the destructive baggage that crippling viewpoint carries.
(6) Mandating 12-pound double action only triggers, means that handguns have long, very heavy trigger pulls that make accuracy difficult at best, even for experts. Glocks available to the public have standard 5.5-pound triggers.
Bob is right. The NYPD does indeed have a training problem, but its only one element of a philosophical/political problem that extends into every facet of life in the Big Apple. Mandatory 12-pound triggers prove that the NYPD does not trust its officers with handguns, and is determined not to adequately train them. A very heavy trigger is a foolish measure intended to prevent accidental discharges, but has the unintended consequence of ensuring bad marksmanship, which inevitably produces accidental shootings of innocents.
Better than half the time, officers should have been shooting nonlethal rounds of some sort anyways. Every officer in the country should be issued a taser. It should be standard practice that when they engage ANYone of suspicion, the taser is already pointed at the person making them “feel” threatened or even stupid. Far, far fewer people would die if this were implemented.
There are also more than a few concealed carry civilians who put an NY1 or NY2 trigger spring in their carry Glocks. (I, fortunately, am not one.)
Spray and Pray.
The NY 1 with the Minus connector creates a fairly smooth 6 pound pull, and it is an approved configuration by Glock
I have fired the NY 2 and it is a nasty bear. You can get used to it, but it takes focus and practice, and as the author says-cops are not necessarily gun people
On the devils advocate side, the revolvers that most Glocks replaced on PDs had usually 12 pound and higher double action pulls
If they’d read this book, they’ll find it’s probably not a marksmanship problem. It’s a training problem. Instead of shooting at the target the officers are employing “display behavior.” Shooting wide of the target is like two cats puffing up trying to intimidate rather than fight. (This display behavior is what GWB did so well that we never had a problem with Putin or China on his watch.)
I do believe the 12 pound triggers became “mandatory” because the NYPD had a string of accidental discharges injuring themselves. So in typical liberal fashion they work on the wrong problem.
God help the bystanders if they ever allow anything other than double action only however.
Dad who was NYPD from ‘46 - 68 told me a few interesting cop storied.
they carried revolvers back then. though both single and double action it was considered ‘execution’ if you cocked back the hammer first(that rule change was during dads term as a patrolman). dad told me about an “Old Irish Cop” who once held a perp till the wagon arrived. he had cocked his revolver(don’t know if it was before or after the aforementioned rule was implimented). once the perp was being transferred he moseyed over to a garbage can and fired the round under the hammer into the pail. It seems he did not know how to lower the hammer gently down once it was cocked.
when dad started, “stop or I’ll shoot” was allowed if you spoke those words loudly at fleeing felons, by the end of his tenure he kept a printed copy of ‘Miranda warning’ in his hat.
things change...sometimes for the better...sometimes not.
none of my handguns would pass NYPD muster.
the worst (or best) is my Colt SAA second generation 125th anniversary commemorative(made in 1961) that should have remained unfired in its display case but my friend who picked it up used at the gun store she worked in got it sans case and it had been fired.
this thing will fire if you look at it funny. you had better be dead on target before you reach for the trigger. it is that light. let my son shoot it. he fired over the berm as he did not take my word that the trigger was REAL LIGHT(luckily the other side of the berm is pine barrens for miles).
never measured the pull....but it is in ounces....
Sorry, but I’m not feeling for them. Good info, though. I recommend 12lb pull for all LEO. It’s for the children, you know.
NY—both city and state, HATES ALL GUNS with a purple passion.
These guns are nearly impossible to shoot accurately and quickly at any reasonable distance.
It’s the POLICY, stupid.
We dropped the 12 pound when the Chief that ordered it left.
A couple others and I carry stock trigger 1911s of various makes for duty weapons. The rest carry Stock trigger Glocks
ping for later
Twelve pound trigger’s aren’t enough, police should at all times have their blinky lights on, and be clothed in only their underwear and flip flops.
“fired a total of seven shots and entirely missed the criminal”
So what, that’s no big deal. Usually it’s 20-30 rounds fired
with no hits. I think the national average is 35 miss to
1 hit. They have no excuse, at least at the federal level,
they have plenty of ammo for target practice.
I guess every body who shoot well with a double action revolver double action should not be able hit any thing.
Seems a simply solution would be to use a DA/SA pistol instead of DA only
First shot could be 12 lbs and guard against accidental discharge. Any additional shooting would be SA with increased accuracy
Ping for reference.
Hey, since were on the subject can anyone tell me how to keep from pushing the muzzle slightly to the left when pulling the trigger?
Being right handed, Ive noticed that I have a tendency to shoot at the left of center does anyone have any suggestions on how to fix this issue?
There are also more than a few concealed carry civilians who put an NY1 or NY2 trigger spring in their carry Glocks. (I, fortunately, am not one.)
"People on the Internet say" NY1 in combination with the lighter 3lb connector is the bees knees. I tried it, did not like it. That's not unusual, I find, for gun advice derived from the Internet. I swapped the old parts back in right there at the range. I keep the NY1 as a spare part.
In my experience, you are probably using the joint of your finger rather than the pad of your finger to pull the trigger back. I suggest using the pad of your finger and concentrating on pulling straight back.
Relax and use your whole hand when tension is applied, not just the end of your finger by pulling your finger in and to the left. You are also probably on the joint of your finger instead of the end of the pad.
That tends to back up FXRP’s comment, BTW.
Even worse to marksmanship is the worthless DAO pistol action dreamed up by some desk bound political hack lawyer to keep the city from being sued. The DAO, as found, has a very heavy trigger pull (12 pounds on average) and this is NOT conducive to accuracy by the average cop. If you would compare the same cop shooting a 3.5-4 pound trigger pull Glock with a 12 pound NYC trigger pull Glock, most times you'd see a dramatic improvement in hits on the target at the range by the Glock with the lighter trigger pull.
[I know this from personal experience. I once had an Argentine-built FN 9mm HP that had an 18 pound trigger pull. It was so bad that I thought the safety was engaged when I attempted to fire it. The safety was not engaged! Accuracy was non-existent.]
The ideal trigger pull for a sidearm is 3.5 to 4.5 pounds. The heavy DAO trigger pull or heavier spring to boost the trigger pull on striker fired pistols like the Glock results in poor marksmanship and shots going wild. Cops are supposed to know where those rounds they fired went to avoid the shooting of innocent bystanders. With these heavy trigger pull pistols they are forced to carry, I'll bet 9 of 10 cops have no idea where their shots went — certainly not on the intended target.
Heaven forbid we approach a training problem with better training. This is a similar route for any solution the liberal mindset presents, like; make guns illegal for all but cops and robbers so there will be no firearms accidents.
If a cop hasn’t the pride in workmanship to handle the tools of his trade expertly, firearms in this case, he should not be in the profession. It’s how I run a motorcycle repair shop.
“Hey, since were on the subject can anyone tell me how to keep from pushing the muzzle slightly to the left when pulling the trigger?”
Get someone who shoots well to teach you, even if you have to pay for it, then practice. It may be the way you hold the weapon, or the part of your finger you use on the trigger. An expert observing you and then correcting you is the best way to fix this.
We always called it “The Wheel of Misfortune.”
Ive tried transitioning to that part of the finger.. but it didnt help as much as I had hoped.
Interesting Idea I may be tending to just work the one finger.
“Lots of cops have a mindset that says they won’t practice unless the city or PD provides the ammo free. Therefore, no free ammo equals no practice.”
That’s a pathetic attitude for a professional to take.
Those that shoot very well will tell anyone who wants to improve; “dry fire everyday”. A laser pointer on your pistol will show you that you are jerking off target.
Of course, one has to WANT to improve, for starters.
It might be a case where I just have to break down and do that get someone to watch how Im doing that and correct my issues.
One other question: Is it kosher to use adjustable sights to compensate for this?
I know that doesnt help with fixed sights, and it feels little like cheating or just covering up the issue, but at least Im getting more on target as it were.
12 lbs seems a little heavy to me. That’s 1 1/2 gallons of water.
“One other question: Is it kosher to use adjustable sights to compensate for this?”
I can only speak for myself when I say get expert coaching so you will learn what it takes to have excellent trigger control, THEN do any sight adjustments to assure you hit where you aim. It may very well be you already shoot well and your sights are off for all I can tell from here.
My pals and I are all about putting a dummy round in whatever handgun we are shooting (you load your buddy’s gun, he loads yours) so as to come upon an opportunity to dry fire without knowing we are dry firing. Now THAT will catch a flinch, and provide for some material to chide each other over to boot!
Think of the dogs that would be saved if every LEO firearm had a 100 lb pull. Maybe we should get PETA on the case!
Exactly the level of stupid you can count on from NYC.
I’m late to this thread. But here is a testiment to good training with any weapon.
My primary CCW weapon is a Taurus .357 snubby. It’s hammerless DAO. The trigger pull is an enigma for most that shoot it for the first time, especially loaded with .357 (vs .38). It’s a long, fairly heavy and not-smooth trigger pull that rotates the chamber. It’s no fun to shoot, really. But I do try and train with it regularly. I didn’t realize how proficient I was with it until I was shooting with a friend and they complained about knowing where the “break” was in the pull. I thought about it for a second. Then I picked up the gun, aimed at target and was able to immediately pull the trigger until just before the break and hold it there. I stopped the trigger pull and was able to hold it perfect right before bang-time. The chamber was rotated in place. I didn’t realize that I was able to do this and only then realized that my muscles were almost programmed to know how to shoot it. You only get that from practice.
The gun is very reliable, easy to maintain, rugged, etc. For self defense and constant carry, its perfect for me. After I realized just how bad the trigger was, I thought about replacing it. I’ve had it for almost a decade. But it occurred to me that I had become proficient with this weapon and it didn’t make sense to change now.
All that said, 12 lb trigger pull would be a beast, especially if it’s a short pull. At least my long trigger pull has “a spot” where it breaks with a visual cue being the revolving chamber.
i have a flicnh problem i need to work on. trigger pull seems fine. i read using the first joint but my instructor showed me why to use the pas. with the joing ther is a tendency to pull the gin to the left. i practice dry fire with a coin on top of the slide. from the article “older S&W?” i have a model 659 that predates the one in the article. not very concealable but heavy enough for a shooting w/o significant recoil assuming you have a big hand. i will be getting a smaller CCW once i get enough practice, dry fire, live fire, and psychological
I do the same. It's extremely helpful. It helps a bit to have someone else load your magazine.
I've also seen rather dramatic results from taking a pellet pistol with me. Fire about 20 rounds through it, and then fire your handgun. Last time I did that, the difference was really dramatic.
” This renders the Glock, which has a
standard 5.5 pound trigger with a
relatively short trigger pull, far more
difficult to shoot with any degree of
There is more to the issue than that. Light trigger single action weapons cause “mad minute” shooting sprees. Somewhere along the kine, cops trained themselves to empty the weapon. That will always have poor accuracy.
Cops need to learn to control their fire.
Yeah, I kind of guessed that before I asked the question.
Thats a good idea Ive seen the suggestion that you also can use your spent brass as a dummy round.
This is for situations like at a range when you dont want your expensive dummy rounds to be ejected forward of the firing line.
A friend of mine let me fire his .22 target pistol. I absolutely hated the light trigger. It didn't feel safe to have your finger inside the trigger guard. I would never own such a gun.
I have checked out trigger jobs done by pistol smiths. They say well tuned triggers break like glass. The ones this local smith had didn’t break at all to my feel. I touched the trigger could feel the hammer fall but could not feel the trigger as there was a trigger stop which stopped all trigger movement at the point it broke. My SAA is extremely light but at least one gets a little feedback from the trigger. People tell me I am wrong and that is the proper action for a supperior target gun. Sorry but not for me.
I have two rifles with set triggers. There is a second trigger device which sets the main trigger to be a hair trigger. As you don’t set the trigger till you are on target it is not a safety issue, but boy it is extremely light.
I have never owned anything with a trigger that would qualify. But much can be said for having proper technique.
One very convincing demonstration at a class I took was having the student take his stance and bring the sights on target. The instructor would then place his own trigger finger over the trigger finger of the student. Then the instructor would supply the pressure to fire the gun while the student held on target.
The result was startling, especially for the unskilled students. The rounds were within the small black square at the center of the target. The instructors were pretty good.
I was firing a standard Glock .45 and was impressed with how accurate the gun was when operated properly.
If you want to get smooth with a DA revolver, use an old trick of exhibition shooter Ed McGivern from the 1930s (he shot 5 shots from a .38 Smith in 9/20ths of a second into a playing card sized group). Put a dot of paint on a full length mirror, and put the muzzle on it. Dry fire repeatedly, trying to keep the muzzle on the dot. You can see what your trigger pull is doing to the aim. Get smoother and quicker over time. That trains the muscles.
check that your forearm is mostly aligned with the barrel as you grip the pistol. And, as others have mentioned the fishy part of your finger should contact the trigger, not the tip, or first joint. and also, as mentioned by others, practice dry firing, but put the live ammo in another room, use snap caps and yes, a mirror does help. Above all, be safe
ha ha....no...not the fishy part of your finger (stoopid phone word predict!)...the FLESHY part.
...and if that part of your finger is fishy, well wash your darn hands! that’s just plain nasty!
You speak of DAO an DA. I own single action semi autos 3 single action revolvers and 2 double action revolvers I pretty much only shoot single action. I only have shot handgun competition for Cowboy Action. All single action and the trigger goes snick. I have practiced shooting my revolvers double action. Generally don’t like it but I am passable at it.
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