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Experts Find Glocks Prone To Accidents
Syracuse Post-Standard ^ | 8/7/02 | John O'Brien

Posted on 08/07/2002 6:24:01 AM PDT by jalisco555

INSIDE

When a Syracuse man was struck last week by a bullet fired through the ceiling of his apartment, it marked the third time in eight years that an Onondaga County probation officer had unintentionally discharged one of the department-issued Glock pistols.

Those three incidents, and similar cases in Central New York and elsewhere, come as no surprise to Joseph Cominolli. Cominolli was a Syracuse police sergeant in 1987 when he was assigned to find the best semiautomatic handgun to replace that department's revolvers.

The hot new Glock pistol that other police agencies were then buying had two drawbacks that caused Cominolli to reject it. The Glock had no manual safety switch and no magazine safety that made the gun inoperable when the magazine was removed.

A Glock is a safe weapon, Cominolli said, but only if the person handling it knows how to use it. If the gun is unloaded in the wrong order, for example, a round of ammunition can be left in the chamber without the user realizing it, he said. With no manual safety, the gun will fire if the trigger is pulled.

"Even with good training, people forget," he said. "And guns are not forgiving."

On July 30, Stacey Nunn, a probation officer for about a year, was unloading her .40-caliber Glock when it fired into the floor of her second-story apartment at 1904 James St. The bullet struck her downstairs neighbor, Michael Chapman, in the chest as he was making dinner in his kitchen. Chapman's condition improved from critical to serious this week at University Hospital.

Nunn had removed the magazine from the gun before the weapon fired, according to police.

In 1994, probation officer Susan Beebe shot herself in the knee while unloading her Glock. In September 1998, a firearms instructor for the probation department unintentionally fired his Glock into a wall while teaching a class how to remove the weapon from a holster. The shot put a hole through a classroom wall at the Elbridge Rod and Gun Club.

The gun's inadvertent firing in the hands of a gun expert caused concern, Probation Commissioner Robert Czaplicki said.

"We took a look at what went on," Czaplicki said. "We had a group of people look at it. It raised some red flags."

The firearms instructor is still teaching probation officers, said Czaplicki, who would not identify the instructor.

Cominolli, who is retired from the police, has designed and patented a manual safety device that can be added to Glock pistols. Last year, he talked to Czaplicki about adding the device to the probation department's guns.

Czaplicki said the county then talked with Glock officials about having the device installed. But the county rejected the idea after Glock said it would void the warranty on the guns if the safeties were added, Czaplicki said.

Czaplicki said his department is reconsidering the safeties in light of last week's unintentional discharge that injured Chapman.

Cominolli said he knows of dozens of "unintentional discharges" of Glocks in Central New York over the past 15 years, and estimates there have been thousands across the country. He won't refer to them as accidents because that implies the shootings could not have been prevented.

Syracuse police use Smith & Wesson firearms.

No national statistics are available on which manufacturer's handgun has the most unintentional firings. The Washington Post reported in 1998 that District of Columbia officers, who use Glock 9mm handguns, unintentionally fired their weapons more than 120 times over 10 years.

In 1988, the FBI issued a report on Glock handguns giving them low marks, citing a "high potential for unintentional shots," according to the Post. The agency will not release the report, according to an FBI spokesman in Washington, D.C.

Despite that report, the FBI issues Glocks to its agents.

Last week, a Queens corrections officer fatally shot his son while the officer was unloading his 9mm Glock handgun in his home, according to Newsday. A police chief in Coral Gables, Fla., accidentally fired his .40-caliber Glock last month into his locker at a health club, according to The Miami Herald.

The Onondaga County Sheriff's Department, which has used Glocks since 1992, has had at least three unintentional discharges with the weapon, according to Lt. Thomas Morehouse, a firearms instructor. A deputy fired a shot that grazed his hand in 1992. A detective fired a round into the floor of his patrol car a few years ago. And a deputy accidentally pulled the trigger three years ago and fired a round into the ground at the training range, Morehouse said.

In December, an Oswego County sheriff's deputy accidentally fired his Glock handgun into the foot of a security officer at a nuclear power plant.

Cominolli, a nationally known firearms expert, said he's gotten dozens of calls from lawyers representing police officers who'd shot themselves with Glocks. He tells them he's never heard of a case of the gun malfunctioning. It's always operator error, he said.

'Brain fade' protection

That's why he designed the safety device and is marketing it to police agencies and private gun owners across the country. With the safety on, the trigger bar inside the gun can't move.

"If you have a brain fade and pull the trigger, it won't go bang," Cominolli said.

Newly hired probation officers in Onondaga County must carry a firearm after undergoing 35 hours of training on the shooting range and 14 hours in the classroom, Czaplicki said. Veteran officers in the department have the option of carrying a gun. Probation officers are trained by the department's two state-certified firearms instructors, he said. Forty-one of the county's 84 probation officers now carry a gun on the job. All carry Glocks.

In response to last week's shooting, the department is reviewing its training procedures, Czaplicki said. He wouldn't comment on details of the shooting, except to say it's certain that the trigger on the gun must have been pulled. Initial police reports erroneously said the gun had fired when the officer dropped it.

Mark Doneburgh, Glock's district manager for the Syracuse area, was an Onondaga County sheriff's deputy 14 years ago when he first looked at Glocks. He questioned whether they could hold up because they're made of plastic, so he took the gun up in a helicopter and dropped it to the ground. It didn't break and didn't fire, he said.

Glock doesn't fit its guns with manual safety switches because the guns have three internal "passive" safeties, Doneburgh said. Those safeties automatically disengage when someone pulls the trigger, but they prevent the gun from firing when it's dropped or when the trigger gets bumped from the side.

Remembering the safety

Glocks are popular with police because the revolvers they replaced had no manual safeties, he said. The fear was that officers would have trouble getting used to having to turn off the safety in a gunfight, Doneburgh said. He studied the Glock for the sheriff's department.

"We needed a gun that we could easily transition my people with and that they could feel confident with," he said. "It's a draw, point and shoot gun."

Onondaga County Corrections Commissioner Timothy Cowin said he would not outfit his officers with Glocks until they were fitted with Cominolli's manual safety last year.

"I've been in this business a long time, and I can tell you there are many, many accidental discharges that never get reported," Cowin said. "When people are holstering or drawing that weapon, they automatically put their finger in that trigger guard without even thinking about it."

With training, officers not accustomed to turning off a manual safety can make it a habit, Cowin said.

Cowin said it's unclear whether the added safety means Glock will no longer honor its warranty. He said he decided to make the change anyway because the weapon is unlikely to need any repairs that the correction department's own armorer can't fix.

Many accidental Glock discharges involve unloading. Doneburgh, who teaches gun safety courses at Onondaga Community College, said he always demanded perfection from his police recruits when they unloaded guns during firearms training.

"I used to tell them, No. 1, 'mag' out," he said of the need to remove the magazine before clearing the chamber. "I told them, 'Put your finger on the trigger and I'm going to take a knife and cut it off.' And they believed me. Hopefully, that's going to stay with them for 20 years."

Never found liable

Glock doesn't fit its guns with safeties because many police officers are used to not having to switch them off and because the company has never been found liable for any unintentional shooting, Doneburgh said.

"We've never lost a lawsuit," he said. Doneburgh said he didn't know how many lawsuits the company had settled, and a lawyer for Glock could not be reached for comment.

Cominolli said he's sold between 600 to 800 of the safeties to police agencies and private gun owners in the first year and has orders for more. He charges $75 a gun for law enforcement agencies. Local Glock owners can buy the device at Ra-Lin Discount in Syracuse.

The Kenmore Police Department, near Buffalo, wouldn't have bought Glocks without the added safeties, Cominolli said.

Twelve of the 17 police departments in Onondaga County, including the sheriff's department and state police, issue Glocks to their officers. The only ones that don't are Syracuse, DeWitt, Baldwinsville, North Syracuse and East Syracuse, Doneburgh said.

DeWitt police Capt. Bruce Wahl said he chose the Smith & Wesson semiautomatic partly because it has a manual safety and another safety that makes the gun inoperable without the magazine. Officials at other police agencies, such as Camillus, said they've never had an unintentional firing of a Glock.

"The Glock is accepted by 70 percent of law enforcement agencies in North America," Doneburgh said.

He said he's heard reports of a Glock being unintentionally fired, and each time it's because someone messed up; the gun itself has never malfunctioned.

"We're in a society where we're making inanimate objects responsible for our stupidity," he said. "You have to put warnings on things. You can't put your dog in a microwave oven to dry him. Common sense has to take over here."


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; US: New York
KEYWORDS: bang; banglist; firearms; glock; secondammendment
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Since my knowledge of firearms is limited I'd appreciate the comments of knowledgable Freepers. I suspect poor training rather than poor design is the problem here.
1 posted on 08/07/2002 6:24:01 AM PDT by jalisco555
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To: jalisco555
I never liked the Glock because of ergonomics. The gun is too square and "blocky"; it doesn't fit my hand well.

By all accounts it is a fine weapon. Again, I dislike the silly trigger thingie that masquerades as a 'safety'. And I just plain don't like DAO weapons--which the Glock sort of is.

Recent news about jamming and failure to feed, too.

But on the plus side they are supposed to be almost indestructable. I've heard of weapons with many thousands of rounds put thru them and no problems.

But just not right for me...I'll never own one.

--Boris

2 posted on 08/07/2002 6:33:24 AM PDT by boris
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To: jalisco555
I think the problem with all of these semi-autos is that there is a round left in the chamber after the magazine is removed, unless all of the rounds are used up. If a person forgets to set the safety you can have an accident and frankly I wouldn't trust the safety anyway. What I do is to set the safety, remove the magazine and shake or pry the round out of the chamber before I put it away.

The problem with the "unloaded" gun has always been a problem. In the old West, smart cowboys always traveled with an empty chamber in the firing position on their six shooters.

If it were possible to make it impossible to shoot the semi-autos without the magazine in place I suppose that would be a very good idea but I still don't trust any of these ideas fully. The only safe weapon is a gun without a round in the chamber.
3 posted on 08/07/2002 6:35:45 AM PDT by RichardW
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To: jalisco555
With no manual safety, the gun will fire if the trigger is pulled.

I think Onondaga County needs to hirer smarter probation officers

4 posted on 08/07/2002 6:36:33 AM PDT by 2banana
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To: jalisco555
Bingo-the safety on the Glock is the same safety on revolvers-internal only. The idiots involved here forgot the primary weapons saftey rules of: handle all weapons as if they were loaded until you visually and manually verify otherwise, and KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOU ARE READ TO FIRE. Sorry for yelling , but that's what I have to do on the range to re-inforce it with officers that oughtta know better. Like the idiots in the article
5 posted on 08/07/2002 6:36:55 AM PDT by 5Madman2
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To: jalisco555
As my brother told me:
"There are 3 rules of Glock Safety:"
  1. Keep your freakin' finger off the trigger
  2. Keep your finger off the freakin' trigger
  3. Keep your freakin' finger off the freakin' trigger

The point is, the Glock will not fire if the the trigger is not pulled (there is a safety within the trigger that is activated when pressure is applied to the trigger). In addition, the officers clearly violated several fundamental gun safety rules:
  1. Treat every gun as if it was loaded
  2. Never point a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy, and
  3. Keep your freakin' finger off the freakin' trigger

6 posted on 08/07/2002 6:38:09 AM PDT by FOL(iberty)
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To: 5Madman2
DOOOH?!?!

That's READY TO FIRE

7 posted on 08/07/2002 6:38:51 AM PDT by 5Madman2
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To: jalisco555
I suspect poor training rather than poor design is the problem here.

There are three safety rules for Glocks:

I don't know why some people find them so difficult.
8 posted on 08/07/2002 6:42:04 AM PDT by supercat
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To: jalisco555
I love my Glocks (thousands of rounds, no FTFs), but I always tll people the primary safety is that big pink thing thing between the ears.

No, not my nose! (smile)

9 posted on 08/07/2002 6:42:11 AM PDT by Jonah Hex
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To: jalisco555
Just a question, can police officers carry their own personal weapons instead of what's issued to them?
10 posted on 08/07/2002 6:42:45 AM PDT by shekkian
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To: *bang_list

11 posted on 08/07/2002 6:44:49 AM PDT by Joe Brower
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To: RichardW
The problem with the "unloaded" gun has always been a problem. In the old West, smart cowboys always traveled with an empty chamber in the firing position on their six shooters.

That's because early revolvers were not otherwise drop-safe. Any live round under the hammer would be fired if the hammer was struck. NAA's mini-revolver has a very elegant solution to this problem; I'm surprised I've not heard of it elsewhere (they allow the cylinder to be parked halfway between rounds).

12 posted on 08/07/2002 6:45:26 AM PDT by supercat
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To: FOL(iberty)
I've owned a mod 22 Glock .40 Cal and really like the way it shoots now. When I first got it, the Glock had an awful eight pound trigger pull and jammed tight on the first box of brand new ammo. But a tune up from a St. Paul gunsmith took care of that and I've put a couple thousand rounds through it since then.
As in any auto-feed pistol, or any kind of gun, for that matter, you've got to treat it like its loaded every time. EVERY TIME.
13 posted on 08/07/2002 6:48:14 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: jalisco555
Go here

On the left are link to video files. Check out the one called glockauto.mpg.

Glocks are not unsafe. They are less safe than other firearms. But it's not the firearm, it's the person handling it. As many have pointed out here.

14 posted on 08/07/2002 6:49:39 AM PDT by isthisnickcool
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To: jalisco555
the third time in eight years that an Onondaga County probation officer had unintentionally discharged one of the department-issued Glock pistols.

Gun grabber mantra: "Only the police and government agents should have guns, because only they can be trusted to use them safely."

The Glock had no manual safety switch and no magazine safety that made the gun inoperable when the magazine was removed.

Having a magazine "safety" means you can't shoot an attacker when you're reloading. Such a safety will get people killed.

A Glock is a safe weapon, Cominolli said, but only if the person handling it knows how to use it.

Bingo.

If the gun is unloaded in the wrong order, for example, a round of ammunition can be left in the chamber without the user realizing it, he said.

If the user doesn't realize that clearing the chamber fist, followed by removal of the loaded magazine, leaves a round in the chamber, then that person shouldn't be handling guns and certainly shouldn't be in any kind of position that requires gun handling.

15 posted on 08/07/2002 6:50:09 AM PDT by coloradan
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To: jalisco555
This is par for the course in today's Modern society. Responsibilty is side stepped and someone/thing else gets blamed. The fact is a Glock won't fire unless the trigger is pulled. This 'officer' screwed up and now its the guns fault. As already mentioned if you don't want the thing to fire keep your finger off the trigger. Its no more complicated than that....which says ALOT about the knucklehead who committed the AD. That said the Glock is the single most reliable combat handgun ever designed. In live fire its administratively perfect...point and shoot. Theres no decocker or safety to actuate (or not and wind up hurt or dead). For that reason a Glock is faster to learn than any other handgun....BUT if you don;t want it to go bang! you must keep it unloaded OR keep your finger off the trigger until you want it to go bang!!!! I think you get the point...
16 posted on 08/07/2002 6:50:10 AM PDT by 556x45
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To: jalisco555
A Glock is a safe weapon, Cominolli said, but only if the person handling it knows how to use it.

The article could have ended right there. Enough was said.

How difficult is it to test officers on procedures for safe handling of weapons? Have an instructor ask the officer to unload their weapon. If he leaves a round in the chamber, do not return the semi-auto pistol. Issue a revolver and a 1 bullet for their pocket.

17 posted on 08/07/2002 6:50:13 AM PDT by maximus@Nashville
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To: jalisco555
I don't consider myself an expert either but offer the following observations:

A Colt 1911 semi-auto handgun (and probably many others) will fire a round in the chamber with the magazine removed. Even if a particular handgun has a mechanical disconnect designed to prevent it from firing with the magazine removed, you should NOT depend on it or any other mechanical safety

The situation in the article is a problem of lack of thought, forgetting the fundamental safety rules, and lack of practice with the firearm. The rule being violated is to keep your finger OFF the trigger until your sights are on the target. You don't need to have your finger inside the trigger guard to draw the pistol. The two other basic safety rules are to be sure of your target, what's behind it, and what's beyond it and to point your firearm only at something you are absolutely certain you wish to destroy.

18 posted on 08/07/2002 6:53:01 AM PDT by GunsareOK
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To: jalisco555
Only thing you have to remember is the definition of an "expert", an "ex" is a has-been and a "spurt" is a drip under pressure.
19 posted on 08/07/2002 6:53:59 AM PDT by bullseye1911
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To: jalisco555
If you own and carry a firearm you are responsible for what it does. If it need service, get it serviced. If it needs replacing, replace it. If it goes off while in your possession, you are responsible.

I have a good deal of experience with more than one Glock. They are fine weapons and don't possess a fault a competent shooter can't deal with easily. Since no gun is perfect, one can only come close. For my money the Glock comes awfully close.

20 posted on 08/07/2002 6:54:00 AM PDT by muir_redwoods
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To: jalisco555
This is a bunch of crap. I've owned Glocks and many other guns for years, and never had an accidental discharge. If this probation officer keeps shooting his ceiling, he needs to surrender his weapon until he gets proper training and qualifies to carry it. Guns dont "just discharge"; careless people are always at fault. Fools who shoot their own ceiling just give credibility to anti-gun nuts who want to disarm everyone.
21 posted on 08/07/2002 6:54:14 AM PDT by Astronaut
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To: jalisco555
Glocks are fine.

A Glock is a safe weapon, Cominolli said, but only if the person handling it knows how to use it. If the gun is unloaded in the wrong order, for example, a round of ammunition can be left in the chamber without the user realizing it, he said. With no manual safety, the gun will fire if the trigger is pulled.

1. I never use safeties because they lock you at the wrong time, and they do not work at the wrong time. Except if you are a 1911 type on alert cocked and locked, I see no use of the safety in Glocks, just keep it in DA mode and things should be fine

2. All semi-autos can have a round loaded while the magazine is out. So duh! When making sure a round is not chambered, one looks in the chamber, not in the magazine by removing it.

This article seems like bull and I smell a media/law suit going on.

22 posted on 08/07/2002 6:55:05 AM PDT by lavaroise
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To: jalisco555
I'll stick with my Browning HP. Ambidextrous thumb safety, and will not fire with the magazine removed. And it's single action, you have to manually cock the first shot. Overall, a real safe pistol. I juust wish I could get it in .45
23 posted on 08/07/2002 6:57:27 AM PDT by DETAILER
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To: shekkian
Typically the answer is no. Reason being that the department has liability for the weapon under the rule of respondiat superior. That is, anything the officer does is also the departments fault.

I own and fire a wide variety of handguns and have to agree with all the posters that eloquently deride the training of these careless officers. The Glock may not be pretty, but it is durable, accurate, easy to work on, and reliable. I have pumped hundreds of rounds through mine (plural) and have never had serious problems except with crappy remanufactured ammo that was loaded to hot.

THE GLOCK ROCKS.
24 posted on 08/07/2002 6:59:11 AM PDT by WilliamWallace1999
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To: jalisco555
Some of the events depicted in this article may intentionally not be accurate to save face for the idiot who accidentally discharged his weapon.

I carried the Glock 17,as part of my previous employment.

None of my Buddies or I have ever had any problems with our issued weapon.

25 posted on 08/07/2002 7:01:42 AM PDT by gitmogrunt
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To: shekkian
It depends on the department's policy. My PD mandates all officers carry issued weapons; personal backups may be carried after approval by the armorer and range qualification, but the issued firearm MUST be carried.

We use a S&W semi-auto (665??) that doesn't fire when the clip is removed (although there is a way to reactivate the gun with a carefully placed pen in the receiver). This feature was deemed essential after one of our guys was shot and killed with his own revolver after a struggle with a crazy guy: if you are in a fight for possession, you can press the clip disengage button and let him take the piece, them beat him sensless with your stick.

26 posted on 08/07/2002 7:01:59 AM PDT by dasboot
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To: jalisco555
If the gun is unloaded in the wrong order, for example, a round of ammunition can be left in the chamber without the user realizing it, he said. With no manual safety, the gun will fire if the trigger is pulled.

Duh. Yes, a gun will fire when you pull the trigger. So don't pull the trigger unless you want it to fire.

"Even with good training, people forget," he said. "And guns are not forgiving."

What exactly do they forget? To not pull the trigger? Or is it the ever-so-complicated idea that the chamber loads from the magazine, so one should remove the magazine before clearing the chamber?

If the people are too stupid to realize how an autoloader loads, they shouldn't be issued weapons, or be allowed to drive a car, or operate a toaster.

SD

27 posted on 08/07/2002 7:02:10 AM PDT by SoothingDave
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To: jalisco555
I LOVE both of my Glock's, but I can see how this sort of thing happens. I'll admit that when I bought my first one, a model 19 back in '89, I was somewhat intimidated by the fact that there was no safety other than the trigger release. I got used to it, and the fact that the Glock, in condition one, was ready to fire and it would be quite easy if you dropped your awareness for only a split second to accidentally discharge it. After I got past the initial intimidation, my second Glock, a model 27, was a no brainer, and I carry it every day.
28 posted on 08/07/2002 7:06:23 AM PDT by Space Wrangler
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To: jalisco555
Sad, sad state of affairs. Let's arm a bunch of people and then fail to bang the basics of handling ANY firearm. I feel safer already.

I picked up a Glock because I was in the middle of a bad situation and a friend of mine, who has worked on and used all types of firearms, told me that it was hands down the best to use in my situation. It's been a few years and I love having my Glock.
29 posted on 08/07/2002 7:06:23 AM PDT by zx2dragon
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To: FOL(iberty)
Keep your freakin' finger off the trigger

A-men brother!! Anyone who uses a Glock has to adapt to this.

30 posted on 08/07/2002 7:09:13 AM PDT by Space Wrangler
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To: shekkian
I have not come across any agency that let's their officers carry what they want to--at least uniformed officers.
Even in plainclothes, we had to qualify every 6 months with whatever we carried.
31 posted on 08/07/2002 7:11:33 AM PDT by mod.30
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To: jalisco555
A Glock is a safe weapon, Cominolli said, but only if the person handling it knows how to use it.

Every firearm is loaded. I don't care if I put it down 10 seconds ago, when I pick it up, I check to see whether or not it is loaded. On a semi-auto, this includes checking to see if a round is chambered.

Only point firearms at things you intend to shoot, when you pick up the beer, put away the guns, teach your kids how to handle firearms safely, and you won't have any problems.

32 posted on 08/07/2002 7:11:43 AM PDT by Richard Kimball
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To: WilliamWallace1999
The gun's inadvertent firing in the hands of a gun expert caused concern, Probation Commissioner Robert Czaplicki said.

"We took a look at what went on," Czaplicki said. "We had a group of people look at it. It raised some red flags."

The firearms instructor is still teaching probation officers, said Czaplicki, who would not identify the instructor.


33 posted on 08/07/2002 7:13:52 AM PDT by Area51
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To: maximus@Nashville

I asked for a Glock, but they would only give me this revolver and one bullet.

34 posted on 08/07/2002 7:13:57 AM PDT by StockAyatollah
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To: jalisco555
Treat all guns as if they are loaded at all times. Never pull the trigger unless you intend to shoot something.
35 posted on 08/07/2002 7:16:25 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum
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To: Astronaut
There was a thread a while back where some of those chatting mentioned that there is no such thing as an accidental discharge. They claimed that they are all "negligent discharges". From what little experience I have with handguns and what I've heard about most "accidental discharges", they're right about negligence. A weapon won't fire without some type of action outside itself.

When I took my first safety course relating to semi-autos, it was pounded into our heads, magazine out first, clear the round from the chamber next.

A guy here in Idaho found out the hard way at a party a few years ago. Got drunk (a "here-hold-muh-beer" thing) was playing with his new "toy". Put the clip in and pulled the trigger - nothing. Pulled the clip out and pulled the trigger - nothing. Put the clip in, chambered a round, safety on, pulled at the trigger - nothing. Pulled the clip out, safety on, pulled at the trigger, nothing. Put the clip in, took the safety off, pulled the trigger (remember the still-chambered round???)- bang. All this time, he pointed the gun at his head at each trigger pull. The round killed him, killed the moron still in the room sitting next to him and went throught the mouth of the second moron still in the room with this drunk idiot.

36 posted on 08/07/2002 7:17:20 AM PDT by IYAS9YAS
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To: jalisco555
The macho, “I'm a gun expert” attitude of Glock supporters is usually dampened by a negligent discharge. The fact is, Glocks are less safe than a revolver. Why? Glocks have less trigger pull than a revolver. At least with a revolver the user fells the trigger coming back. With a Glock, the trigger can easily be pulled.

Because Glocks are drop safe, meaning that they can be dropped without discharging, people call them “safe”. Most automatics have that feature and most modern revolvers and many older revolvers do as well. That isn’t much of a bragging ight.

Glocks have no personnel safety. They have no manual locking safety nor a magazine drop safety. They also require a convoluted method to clear them. Negligent discharges are far more frequent with Glocks. Of course, most Glock users claim to be experts until they shoot their foot off.

37 posted on 08/07/2002 7:19:07 AM PDT by PatrioticAmerican
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To: supercat
There are three safety rules for Glocks:

If you pull the trigger, it goes bang. If you don't pull the trigger, it doesn't go bang. If you don't want it to go bang, don't pull the trigger.

I don't know why some people find them so difficult.

Another triumph of outcome-based education, I'd wager. For example, how the officer feels about gun safety if more important than actually acting in the appropriate manner. I mean, the officer was entitled to feel safe, now wasn't she? How can we be so judgemennnnnnnnnnntal?

38 posted on 08/07/2002 7:24:13 AM PDT by Noumenon
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To: Space Wrangler
Glocks have their problems, but the lack of a manual safety isn't one of them. I've owned two model 17s, a 19, a 21 and a 30 over the last 15 years since their introduction, and have yet to have one go bang when I didn't want it to...nor did I have any similar problem with the .45 M1911 pistols I've used since 1960, nor the Browning GP *Hi-power* 9mm pistols I've owned and carried since 1967.

I am aware of at least two people with S&W autopistols killed when the magazine release of their handguns was inadvertantly bumped or depressed when hurriedly grabbed, and the magazine safety functioned exactly as designed, leaving them with a nonfunctioning handgun while an adversary killed them. That's not to say that I wasn't fond of the sweet little S&W M39 autoloader I carried as an armored car courier/driver and gun guard...after the magazine safety was disconnected.

But I'm much more displeased with other cgharacteristics of the Glocks, including their rifling profile unsuitable for unjacketed lead bullets, their unsuitability with reloaded training ammunition, an unfortunate tendency of some models to fire before the breech is fully locked up, and the *phase three* malfunction in which a glock will sometimes try to rechamber a fired case before it's fully ejected from the weapon, usually jamming the action pretty good.

I've still got a Model 17, the original version first introduced by Gaston Glock, and as used by the Austrian, Norwegian and Israeli military. But I'm under no illusions that it's perfect or *absolutely* reliable, any more than any other bit of machinery can be. It'll do, if I do my part.

FReep thread on Glock *phase three* stoppages *here*.

-archy-/-


39 posted on 08/07/2002 7:24:51 AM PDT by archy
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To: PatrioticAmerican
I don't like the idea of cops having a gun with no safety whey they are prone to pulling their firearms and waving them in people's faces every time they get nervous. There should be a massive amount of paperwork involved whenever a cop pulls a gun and that nonsense would end. I'm also not sure why a cop needs to carry 16 rounds. It only encourages reckless firing.
40 posted on 08/07/2002 7:26:30 AM PDT by bocephus
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To: jalisco555
I haven't seen any comments about the Glock New York trigger, developed at the request of the NYPD (or maybe state police) to dramatically increase the force required to fire the gun. The NY trigger helps prevent inexperienced or less attentive operators from unintentionally pulling the trigger while reholstering or fumbling with the gun.

Without the NY modification, the Glock trigger is pretty light and will get you in trouble if you disregard RULE No. 1 as stated earlier, " Keep your friggin' finger off the friggin' trigger" unless you plan on shooting something.

Of course, the addition of the NY trigger makes the gun tougher to shoot well, since the trigger pull goes from around 5 lbs to 8 or 9, but it may help prevent negligent discharges like those in the article.

41 posted on 08/07/2002 7:34:03 AM PDT by xsrdx
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
Treat all guns as if they are loaded at all times. Never pull the trigger unless you intend to shoot something

No. *All guns are always loaded.* *Keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are aligned with that which you intend to shoot.*

Gunsmoke

Number 3
"Sorrows"
for August 1997.

Text By Archy Copyright © 1997

In the play Hamlet, [H.IV:5] William Shakespeare tells us that "When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but battalions". Though written in a day when swords were the most common personal armament, he could easily have been writing about accidental discharges from firearms- particularly automatic weapons. For all the sorrow they cause, they can't be reversed, only remembered, and the only good that can come of them is the lesson that they teach their survivors not to repeat them.

There's nothing new about them. It's even possible that the very first discharge of the first firearm may have not been as intended: since the early Chinese fireworks bombs loaded with black powder in bamboo shattered their containers spectacularly, experimenting handloaders seeking magnum effects needed only to reinforce the bamboo tube with cord or wire wrapping and additionally plug the end joints with rocks or plugs cemented in place with dried mud or mortar. When one end plug, tamped or wadded less effectively than those at the other end flew out with lethal force, some bright tinkerer may next have had the idea of doing so intentionally- particularly if that first flying projectile struck some forgotten bystander with lethal force. We've come a long way since then, but accidents will happen.

There's even some comment that those "accidental discharges" should be termed "unintentional discharges" or "nondirected discharges" in that those terms make the sickening thought of what might have been somehow less horrible.

So I'm happy that though I've been around a few of them, I've never had one. It might be that the thought of an unwanted discharge from an automatic weapon capable of twenty shots, more or less, in a second or two, whether a single round or a repetitious rattleburst, is a sufficiently scary thought as to inspire safer gun handling. It may be that the auto weapon hopefully reaches the hands of an operator who has worked their way through a progression of successively complicated weapons. It may just be that there are comparatively fewer lead-spreading fire-breathing sprayguns looking for a handler who will have an accident with them. But whether one shot or a string of them results, whether injury or damage results, they're a bad thing.

Though no comparison should be made of the deaths or injuries that have resulted from such discharges should be attempted, a record expense for material damage to government property not involving human injury was recorded a few years before the adoption of the Beretta M9 pistol by a bored guard with an M1911A1. At a remote airfield in Greenland, the aircraft and hangers of one USAF Weather Reconnaissance Squadron were under guard as top-secret gear, since those planes would overfly the remains of areas targeted following nuclear exchanges in the event of global conflict.

Accordingly, one lonely guard was left to entertain himself over a repeated four-hour shift with no other entertainment that his .45, the reading of books and magazines while on the duty having been forbidden as "distracting" and punished with Article 15 proceedings. So the lonely guard instead equipped himself with an extra magazine of dummy ammunition and practiced his fast-draw techniques from the GI holster (it can be done pretty fast, with enough practice.) Eventually, it happened.

The gun was pulled in a blur, the hammer dropped and the round in the chamber fired. The good news was: no one was hurt. That was not the only news. After clearing his pistol, the shaken guard began to wonder where the slug had gone. After a short search, he found a neat half-inch diameter hole in one of the hanger's twin doors. Glancing outside, he noted that on the exit side the sheet metal had peeled back like a banana peel, and with a little work, some putty and paint, it was possible that no one would ever know.

He found an unlocked toolbox with a hammer and neatly rearranged the exit hole into its earlier configuration. Some caulking and gray paint took care of the rest, and a "NO SMOKING" sign on the inside of the door, moved just a few inches, covered the trail of the .45 slug even better.

But during his work on the exterior side, he had noticed a plane parked outside the hanger that hadn't been there before. Though there was no crew around to have heard the shot, there was an airfield tow tractor hooked to the plane, and it might be that a deal would have to be made with some sympathetic ramp-rat.

He threw on his parka and went outside, to find an enormous radar/electronics pod under the wing facing the hanger. Fearing the worse, he checked the multimillion dollar accessory for a bullet hole, but thankfully it was clean. He checked for the tow operator, but he had fled for the comfort of a warm barracks or mess hall. As he started back for the hanger he happened to glance at the big pod, now nearly touching the ground as the air leaked out of the port side landing gear's tires, and he finally figured out where his .45 slug went.

A funny story? Sure, and I laughed too when a now-retired small arms facility director told it as a part of a safety training lecture. I didn't laugh nearly as much when I heard about DEA Special Agent Bob Lightfoot, who was 34 when he died as a result of a firearms accident on November 23, 1977 in Bangkok, Thailand. So many DEA agents have died in the line of duty, in plane crashes, during an office collapse, from hostile fire- and of course in the Oklahoma City bombing (where they were on duty in their office that day, unlike the ATF staffers who had been told not to come in that morning). They don't need any additional fatalities from improper or unsafe firearms handling. But it has happened.

DEA has lost and will lose too many good people in the hazardous course of their job to lose any more to such accidents; I hope Special Agent Lightfoot is the very last one. But of course, it's more probable that he won't be. Neither are those accidents limited to the DEA: back when Henry Kissinger was still the Secretary of State, there was an accidental discharge of an Uzi aboard the Secretary's plane, though the Uzi is about as fool-and-soldier-proof as weapons can get.

More recently, on 28 July of this year, international wire services reported that a security agent for current Secretary of State Madeline Albright shot himself in the foot "while checking his weapon", according to a State Department spokesman. The accident occurred at the Sunway Lagoon Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, where the agent was quartered on the same floor as the Madame Secretary- who was reportedly not injured during the incident.

And while the BATF blacksuits charging into the church at Waco, Texas seem to have managed some accidental shots during that action, those BATF agents who died that day appear to have suffered from deliberate execution from behind rather than unaimed stray fire. That's a tradition too, in a way: that agency which claims to be the descendent of Chicago T-Man Elliot Ness and his prohibition-era rumrunner-busters neglects to mention the more than 2000 innocent bystanders and unarmed suspects shot by the T-men during the Prohibition days. Perhaps it's a tradition that they have to shoot somebody, even if it's each other.

Of course, County and local lawmen are no more exempt from those unwanted events than their federal cousins. One Indiana sheriff's department had the "special weapons" out for inspection one day, with preloaded magazines present. Now at that time, the M1 carbine could be found in the department's cars, and the semiautomatic Remington M11 shotgun was the local choice of backup firepower carried in the patrol cars. Both of these fire from a closed bolt, as do most of the .22 semiautomatics with which the deputies were familiar and the semiauto shotguns with which a few of them may have hunted.

So a too-unfamiliar operator placed a loaded box magazine in his department's M1928A1 Thompson, with the selector switch in the "semi" position and the safety in the "fire" position. The bolt handle was pulled to the rear, as is necessary when chambering a first round in a closed-bolt weapon like a carbine or semiauto shotgun- but the Thompson fires from the open bolt. The weapon's bolt seemed stuck to the rear. Perhaps, he reasoned, there was a magic button or switch to release the bolt, like the carrier release on those auto shotguns. He turned the safety to "safe"- and nothing happened. He turned the other knob (the selector switch) to "full-auto"- and nothing happened. He turned the safety back again- to "fire"- and again, nothing happened... and then he touched the trigger. The good news was: neither he nor anyone else was hurt. The bad news was that he was in the radio room.

But it shouldn't be thought that the Thompson is unsafe in any sense. The safety of the Thompson blocks it's sear, which thereby keeps the bolt securely in the closed position when that bolt is in the forward position, safety on safe. Similarly, the safety of the M3 and M3A1 grease guns that replaced the Thompson also locks the open-bolt firing grease gun's breech either to the rear ready for firing, or in the forward position, ready to be cocked. That's an improvement over other similar weaponry of other major WW2 powers, which were notorious for accidental firings, particularly when dropped or suddenly jarred.

The German MP38 was so prone to such discharges that an improved bolt handle was designed, added to later production guns [thence known as MP38/40] and retrofitted to the older weapons. With a loaded magazine in place, rearward bump of the gun could cause the bolt's inertia to return the bolt against its recoil springs sufficiently for the magazine to feed a cartridge to the chamber, but not so far back as to catch the bolt against the sear. When the spring then returned the bolt to its forward position, the gun fired that waiting cartridge, usually then returning to the fully cocked position, but of course by then the damage had already been done. All too often it was to a nearby bystander, but with the neat folding stock of the German MP, it was quite possible for the gun's operator to be pointing it beneath his chin. The British were no better equipped with the various Marks of Sten Guns, though a latching bolt handle also appeared on some, but not all of that weapon's nearly three million examples.

Accidents with the Sten in the postwar period were common enough that the British progressed with the design of the Sterling SMG from the wartime Patchett design; Israeli inventor Uziel Gal, taking a different approach, incorporated a grip safety on the gun that was to replace the Sten in his nation's military services, and other postwar guns such as the Madsen and Beretta M12 also shared that safety feature.

Later Uzi production included a ratchet to catch and lock the bolt if the cocking handle slipped in a wet or tired hand while loading the gun. It's often been thought that Marines using the .45 Reising M50 SMG during the Second World War disdained it because less than perfect interchangeability of parts rendered the gun less than reliable, but conversations with former Marine Raiders who carried the gun, as well as at least two knowledgeable police officers very familiar with the Reising in their respective but widely separated jurisdictions offer another reason too: the cocking knob located beneath the barrel forward of the magazine invited an operator's habit of turning the gun upside-down during the charging process, in which position the gun could easily be pointed at one's foot. This is an undesirable attribute for an infantryman's weapon, and was also not especially to be wanted for a flatfoot law enforcement officer in a day when semiautomatic pistols were thought to be too complicated for most cops to safely operate.

The Reising, of course, was a closed-bolt gun, so those who think that it's the open-bolt slam-firing mechanism of some other automatic weapon's design that's at fault may take no comfort from those events, nor from a more recent one.

A qualified shooter and gunsmith of the Memphis Police Department was adjusting the sights of a MP5 submachinegun when his hand passed before the muzzle of the weapon as he fired, with a round striking his finger. Investigated by that department's Security Squad, he was given a reprimand, and presumably, some first aid. But Wait!- that has nothing to do with the internal function of the gun, no matter how it's bolt functions. That sort of thing can happen- and has- with almost any weapon open bolt or closed, fully automatic, semi or single shot.

Exactly. It can. And it has. Don't do that with your hand, or anyone else's, or to the tires of an aircraft carrying a multimillion dollar radar pod waiting to be crushed, or to a pal in the back of a pickup. Don't do it to the roof of the range shack, or your car, or to the ceiling of your living room or den. It's unsettling, sets a bad example, and wastes ammunition. There is a safety device which can help prevent some such accidents, though not all.

It's the one between your ears. It's the one that remembers The Four Rules and lives by them, and insists on their consideration from others. The gun is no more or less safe than the person behind it, though some mechanical features require more understanding than others. Some people will never understand or accept any mechanical safety device, and for some none is necessary. And some users would never need to know because they're only going to have one accident anyway, and it will be the last one. The angels know their names and their mistakes; I don't.

Use that safety between your ears. It's the only one you can count on.

THE FOUR RULES:

*All firearms are loaded. - There are no exceptions. Don't pretend that this is true. Know that it is and handle all firearms accordingly. Do not believe it when someone says: "It isn't loaded."

*Never let the muzzle of a firearm point at anything you are not willing to destroy. - If you would not want to see a bullet hole in it do not allow a firearm's muzzle to point at it.

*Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target. - Danger abounds if you keep your finger on the trigger when you are not about to shoot. Speed is not gained by prematurely placing your finger on the trigger as bringing a firearm to bear on a target takes more time than it takes to move your finger to the trigger.

*Be sure of your target and what is behind it. - Never shoot at sounds or a target you cannot positively identify. Know what is in line with the target and what is behind it (bullets are designed to go through things). Be aware of your surroundings whether on a range, in the woods, or in a potentially lethal conflict.

-30-

-archy-/-

42 posted on 08/07/2002 7:46:45 AM PDT by archy
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To: PatrioticAmerican
Glocks have no personnel safety....They also require a convoluted method to clear them.

1. Remove magazine.

2. Cycle slide, and check chamber to be certain it's now empty.

Convoluted? Anyone who can't handle that basic procedure shouldn't be trusted with anything more complicated than a nightstick or entrenching tool.

-archy-/-

43 posted on 08/07/2002 7:50:09 AM PDT by archy
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To: xsrdx
Boy...that sounds like the wrong direction to go with a Glock. When I got my mod 22, it already had what I thought was at least an eight pound pull.
I will confess to thinking (for a moment) that a 3-4 pound trigger might be a bit skinny when my insurance man, fireing my .40 cal Glock for the first time, put a round in the ceiling of the underground range at Burnsville, MN.
44 posted on 08/07/2002 7:51:34 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Jonah Hex
You beat me to it,lol. The primary safety device is the pointy thing between the ears.
45 posted on 08/07/2002 7:52:13 AM PDT by sawsalimb
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To: archy
Same ideas, different words. So shoot me. ;^)
46 posted on 08/07/2002 7:52:42 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum
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To: jalisco555
I own several Glocks and have never has a problem with any of them. The article just says one thing to me. Never give a firearm to an idiot.
47 posted on 08/07/2002 7:53:27 AM PDT by scooter2
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To: bocephus
Any cop who pulls his pistol and waves it around should be cut from the force.
48 posted on 08/07/2002 7:55:47 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: jalisco555
"The gun's inadvertent firing in the hands of a gun expert caused concern, Probation Commissioner Robert Czaplicki said.

I wonder who designated this person an expert?

"We're in a society where we're making inanimate objects responsible for our stupidity," he said. "You have to put warnings on things. You can't put your dog in a microwave oven to dry him. Common sense has to take over here."

If this guy was a Freeper, this should be the quote of the day.

49 posted on 08/07/2002 8:10:11 AM PDT by Shooter 2.5
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To: isthisnickcool
OK I'll bite. I don't know whether to say COOL or WTF?
50 posted on 08/07/2002 8:18:53 AM PDT by Woodman
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