The Shooting Center Newsletter May 2019
Published by The Shooting Center & The National Association of Chiefs of Police November 2019 November 2019
HOME On The RANGE
Tips for Preventing
2020 Training for civilians
COMING SOON to: www.NACOPSTEP.org
and for LEOs at www.NACOPLEEP.org
By John Falldorf
Often, as instructors, we are asked to evaluate a student’s performance…how can they improve their shooting skills? What are they doing right or wrong? What can they do to free themselves from a training plateau?
What follows is a list of recommenda-
tions that, enacted separately or together, will likely raise your current gun handling skills to the next level:
1. Dry firing: Don't listen to those who say you cannot dryfire your gun. Unless you have an old .22 LR, it is perfectly safe -- and even adviseable -- to learn to pull the trigger fast without putting movement into the gun. The dividends from this training exercise are huge! If you only do one of the recommendations… this is the one to do!
2. Buy a pistol that fits your hand: Use the Goldilocks rule, not too small; not too large. Make sure your fingers reach the trigger (you can comfortably place the pad of your index finger over the trigger). Make sure both hands, in proper grip position, cover the grip of the gun. Make sure you can comfortably depress the magazine release button for quick reloads.
3. Buy a quality belt, rated for handgun carry: We say it repeatedly in these pages...an everyday belt will NOT typically support the weight of a quality holster and gun. I recommend Bigfoot gun belts / gunbelts.com or Wilderness Tactical Products, LLC / www.thewilderness.com, or the belts we offer in our Pro Shop.
4. Buy a pistol that can be used for EDC: (every day carry) with enough ammo capacity (10 or
more rounds) that it can be used in range training. An individual that trains and carries only
one pistol is to be feared. He / she has mastered that operating system and is smooth in
5. Buy at least 10 magazines or more for your pistol: Test them all. Some are to be set aside for training and some placed in strategic places with defensive ammo should the need arise. I always have a loaded magazine in the vehicle should I need a reload. When I travel and stay at hotels, I take at least 10 mags, each loaded with defensive ammo. Better safe than sorry. Most hotel rooms can be unlocked in under 2 minutes…even with all the locks and safety devices engaged. (Youtube has lots of videos instructing how to make entry...and it is eye-opening).
6. Buy holsters that fit the pistol: No more than level one retention. Too many levels of retention will get you killed. The reason that we have all the different levels of retention is because we don’t take the time to teach awareness and retention. Take the
training and practice. I recommend Comp-Tac holsters / comp-tac.com or Safariland holsters / safariland.com.
7. Buy good quality lithium powered flashlights: (minimum 650 lumens) and place them in your
vehicles and your home with a good supply of
batteries. Resist the urge to buy weapon-mounted lights for your pistol. The last thing you need to
do is to identify your child (who came home to surprise you) while pointing a loaded firearm at him/her. Take the training and learn flashlight / low light techniques. Weapon-mounted systems and holster retention devices are the result of Police / Security Administrators throwing money at the problem rather than investing in the actual training of personnel.
8. Buy practice ammo and shoot often: Shooting is a perishable skill. As a rule, you should shoot at least 5,000 to 10,000 rounds per year. Don’t buy a reloader thinking that you’ll save money. Do the math. By the time you actually pay off the machine’s cost, your time and supplies, you could have easily bought 20,000 practice rounds. Your time will better spent on the range shooting, not sitting behind the machine pulling a lever.
9. Invest in training: Take at least one to five new training courses per year. Learning never stops. I recommend the STEP program at our range and the local training you can find through Shootingclasses.com.
10. Learn to shoot with both eyes open: By closing an eye, you cut down your peripheral vision by 50 recent. In the past, we taught shooting using only the dominant eye. This technique came out of the rifle discipline. Today, we teach both eyes open…even for scoped rifles. If it seems impossible, close one eye to begin with, and then -- while focued on the front sight -- gradually open the other. Doing this each time you shoot will eventually train both eyes.
11. Learn to point index shoot: Don’t focus on the front sight when you’re 10 yards (two car lengths) away or closer: Focus on the suspect / target and point the weapon instrinctively. Learning this technique will save you valuable seconds, not to mention saving your life. This is an excellent square range training exercise.
12. Learn to draw and holster your pistol smoothly: Without looking at or for the holster (one handed). You can practice this with your gun unloaded until it is a smooth motion.
13. Practice visualizing and pushing the pistol forward while shooting: This aids in the cycling
of the slide and better stance balance. Remember, you drive the gun rather than letting the gun drive you. How can you tell? At the end of your shooting string of fire, you may find yourself being rocked back on your heels ( the gun is driving you) or you may end with pressure on your toes (you are driving the gun)?
14. Invest in good quality electronic hearing protection: Get the highest NRR (Noise Reduction
Rating) possible…I recommend Howard Leight Impact Pro, Walkers, and or Peltor.
15. Get your eyes examined: At least once a year. Your eyesight changes and does so gradually over a period of time. You may not recognize that you are no longer seeing clearly (which would explain your driving...)
16. Incorporate Steel Targets: Into your training drills. Steel targets promote a faster learning curve thanks to positive feedback from hearing and seeing bullet impacts.
17. Learn to move while shooting: No one stands still in a gunfight. Correction...no one stands still in a gunfight, and lives.
18. Resist the urge to buy optics for your pistol: Most life-threatening encounters occur within
5 to 10 feet. Optics will slow you down and get you killed. Mastering optics on a handgun takes extensive practice and only comes into play if the shot is 25 yards or longer. While they are the leading edge of technology in competition, they have no place in an EDC… just my opinion.
John Falldorf is a NACOP-endorsed instructor who spent 27 years in law enforcement and an additional decade plus managing ranges and gun shops. He is a former law enforcement competitive shooter and trainer, and he is FDLE-certified, as well as being certified by the NRA and USCCA. Additionally he is lead instructor for the NACOP LEEP initiative.
Improving Your Shoot:
A few Instructor Insights
1. Under Grab of the Barrel
3. HOLSTER GRAB #1 - DAVID YOUNG METHOD
By Brian C. Smith
In my contact with many armed citizens in training and at other gatherings, the topic never comes up regarding what to do if someone attempts to grab your handgun from your hand or holster. A lot of armed citizens think that carrying a firearm is the “be all and end all” when it comes to self-protection. That perception could be influenced by age, physical condition, or, sadly, what they watch on the television.
So here are a few tactics to practice in the event an adversary tries to grab your firearm. I learned several of these techniques over many years of training from such famed instructors such as James Lindell (retired) Kansas City Police Department and David Young, founder of Arma Training.
Remember that many of these -- or similar -- techniques are now taught at the Police Hall of Fame through the civilian STEP initiative. Find out more at www.NACOPSTEP.org.
Photo One, top left: The attacker grabs the barrel of the defender's pistol with a high grab.
Photo Two, top right: The defender grabs the attacker's wrist at the hinge where the wrist joins the hand in order to minimize flexibility.
Photo Three, bottom left: Then the defender snatches the pistol away, compromising the attacker's grip and causing pain to the attacker's thumb.
Photo One, top left: The attacker grabs the pistol in a low position.
Photo Two, top right: The defender grabs the attacker's wrist at the hinge where the wrist joins the hand in order to minimize flexibility.
Photo Three, bottom left: Then the defender forces the pistol upward to break the attacker's grip.
DON'T Give Up Your Gun!
2. Top GRAB OF THE GUN
4. HOLSTER GRAB #2 - James Lindell METHOD
Photo One, above left: The defender anticipates the attacker will grab his pistol.
Photo Two, above right: Instead of pulling away, the defender pushes the firearm toward the attacker. The attacker will grab the defender's arm.
Photos Three and four, left to right: Defender rolls the pistol to the outside of the attacker's arms, in an upward motion, then pushes the attacker off balance and breaks his grip.
5. attempt to reach and grab
Photo One, previous page, left: The attacker grabs the holstered firearm.
Photo Two, previous page right: The defender wraps his arm firmly around the attacker's wrist to prevent the firearm from leaving the holster.
Photo Three, right: The defender's other arm wraps around the attacker's elbow and lifts up, hyperextending the attacker's elbow and preventing the attacker from pulling.
Writer Brian C. Smith, pictured in the blue shirt, is a NACOP-endorsed instructor, and a retired police captain and former police chief with 41 years of police experience in a vast range of capacities. He is an NRA firearms training counselor and has approximately 18 firearms-related instructor certifications. He has an extensive martial arts background, and approximately eight defensive tactics instructor certifications and many other certifications and accolades.
Photo One, above left: The attacker reaches for the holstered firearm.
Photo Two, above right: The defender pushes the attacker's hand down and secures the firearm and the attacker's hand.
Photo Three, top of next page: Then the defender secures the attacker's hand as he performs an armbar strike upward against the attacker's elbow, hyperextending it and causing pain.
We've all heard the repeated use of the anti-2nd Amendment slogans and arguments featured in this article, so here are a few rebuttals to some of the most common statements employed by the anti-constitution politicians and activists.
“AR-15’s/Assault weapons are the weapon-of-choice for mass murderers!”
Not entirely true, many mass murderers have used handguns, knives, and even vehicles. But even if it were true, it doesn’t matter, because they’re also the weapon-of-choice for police officers and federal agents, not to mention tens-of-millions of law-abiding Americans who prove daily that they are no threat to innocent people.
You don’t take away the rights of the 99.99% just because the .001% abuse their rights. That's not 'common sense'. Besides, the free exercise of the rights of the people isn’t contingent upon the misdeeds of others. Only tyrants and willfully ignorant people think like that.
And just one more closing thought for this claim: in 2018 (and previous years, as well), FAR MORE people were killed by knives and edged weapons (1,515) or with hands, feet and fists (692) than with rifles of any kind (297).
“These weapons of war don’t belong on our streets!” -- (Sen. Bill Nelson D-FL, and many other ill-informed politicians)
They’re not on our streets, ‘sir’; they’re mostly in our homes, at our shooting ranges, in our gun safes, and in our vehicles; you know, in lawful possession, where they belong. Yes, all too often, some psychopath has gotten his hands on one, and in order to inflict maximum damage, brought it into a free-fire, government-designated-target-rich environment known as a Gun Free Zone (you know, those same zones in which 98% of all mass shootings have occurred?), where our children are required by law to spend 7 to 8 hours each day, and, with that, have the unique privilege of being a defenseless victim-in-waiting for the next mass murderer.
As per our founders, these weapons, as well as all other military arms, belong just as much in the hands of the citizenry as they do in the hands of the military. Our founders intended that the government NEVER have a monopoly on force, and that citizens be able to defend themselves should our elected officials wax tyrannical (something they’ve already exhibited a propensity to do).
“Ha! You think you’re going to fight a war against the government with your AR-15’s?!”
Wait a minute...I thought they were “weapons of war”? But now the argument seems to be that our “weapons of war” aren’t fit for military service? Hmmm.
The answer is, “Yes”, we can indeed stand up to the might of the military, just as our founders so intended in the text of the 2nd Amendment. No super-power has ever won an insurgency-type war; just look at the U.S. in Vietnam, Russia in Afghanistan, the U.S. in Iraq, etc.
Besides that, many of the military and police will side with the citizenry, not to mention the fact that, within our ranks, are hundreds-of-thousands of veterans who will share their knowledge with the people should we be forced to defend ourselves against our own government (and I sincerely pray such a scenario never comes to pass.)
The liberals/socialists/communists in our government know this, thus their urgent push to remove such weapons from our hands under the pretense of “public safety” (translation: Public official safety), so they can then proceed to oppress the people at will. Let’s face it, if they treat us like unwanted step-children now, what do you think they’ll do once we’re disarmed?
This also readily implies that all gun control laws have been nothing less than government aggression against the people and their God-given rights. The reason corrupt politicians seek to remove tactical rifles from our hands is because they intend to do things against us that will force us to defend ourselves.
What should give us pause is the fact that we’re even being forced to have this conversation!
“AR-15’s/assault weapons were designed to kill many people as quickly as possible!”
Let’s assume for the sake of argument this statement is correct (it isn’t): Does that then mean you believe that the reason law-abiding citizens own them is so they can kill as many people as quickly as possible? Are you implying that we’re all murderers-in-waiting?
These rifles have been in the hands of private citizens since 1959 (among scores of other types of military weaponry); if we were so dangerous to society, the murder rate would presently be on a scale that would make the Black Plague look like the common cold by comparison.
But a better question would be, does that mean you think police officers and soldiers who possess them are also murderers-in-waiting, and that they possess these weapons for the sake of killing many people as quickly as possible? Or do you suppose they’re cut from a purer moral fabric than the rest of us?
Even if mass casualties were the intention of the designers/inventors of AR-15’s/AK-47’s, it simply doesn’t matter; the possession of military weaponry is the birthright of all lawful American citizens. We’re granted by our Creator the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and the right to defend ourselves against anyone who threatens us, whomever they may be. So, if the government owns them, so should we the people.
“AR-15’s have no purpose for self-defense or hunting!” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.
First, if they have no purpose for self-defense, why are they issued to police officers and federal agents as “personal defense weapons”? (Oops!!)
Second, there are a plethora of incidents in which homeowners successfully defended themselves and their families against multiple home invaders. Conversely, if police officers need them for personal defense, then so does the citizenry, because the same threats the police encounter are faced daily by citizenry…or are you suggesting that regular citizens are a lesser class, and undeserving of such protection? Surely you wouldn’t make such an elitist assumption,….would you?
Third, AR-platform rifles have been used by hunters for years now; they’re usually used in conjunction with 5-shot magazines so as to comply with hunting regulations, but they’re no different than using any other semi-automatic hunting rifle.
Fourth, only someone willfully ignorant, or purposely deceitful (or both), would ever make such an absurd claim. People who know nothing about firearms, their functions, their owners, and the industry, have no business making comments or writing laws concerning them.
“No one needs a thirty-round magazine to hunt deer with!”
Again, we don’t use thirty-round magazines in our AR-platform rifles to hunt deer with, we use five-round magazines to comply with hunting regulations; because, unlike the politicians who parrot such a statement, American hunters are, as a whole, very law-abiding citizens.
What we do need them for is to defend ourselves against a marauding, tyrannical government whose minions just happen to carry thirty-round magazines in their rifles (Venezuela, anyone?) And (once again) since our founders’ design for the citizenry was to be able to stand up against such abuse (yes, they did intend such...read The Federalist Papers before you argue this point, number forty-six in particular), we’ll be keeping our ‘high-capacity magazines' whether or not you ban them.
“We need universal background checks on all gun purchases!”
First, explain how that will inhibit violent crime, especially since 90% of criminals get their guns either by stealing them or by buying them from another criminal (who probably stole it).
Second, how are you going to enforce that? And how will such measures inhibit violent crime when 90% of criminals get their guns from the black market and/or theft?
Why not ask California how well universal background checks worked to drop their homicide rate over the last ten years...because it didn’t happen; their homicide rate actually increased.
What the anti-rights crowd won’t admit is that, in order to enforce universal background check laws, there must be a total federal gun registry (their real aim), because there’s no way to fully enforce them without it. So, such laws are actually designed to mandate more-stringent gun control laws. Slick, isn’t it? What they also won’t admit is that the goal of registration is confiscation. Always has been, always will be.
“Polls say the American people want common-sense gun control!”
That’s great, but the free exercise of our God-given rights isn’t contingent upon polls or upon the felonious actions of the lawless. Polls can be engineered to draw any conclusion the pollster wishes. What if polls came out that said the majority of Americans wanted slavery reinstituted? Would that somehow sanitize such a satanic practice?
Not to mention the fact that gun control isn’t ‘common sense’. The farcical notion that infringing the rights of the lawful will somehow inhibit the lawless and magically translate into a safer society may be common propaganda, but it’s certainly not common sense. That’s akin to taking driver's licenses away from sober people in order to curb drunk driving.
I challenge anyone to show where the lawful, responsible exercise of the right to keep and bear arms has ever harmed an innocent person. It cannot be done, because it has never happened.
Feel free to use these responses as your own the next time someone begins to extoll the virtues of an unarmed citizenry!
Royce Bartlett is a NACOP-endorsed firearms instructor and is certified by the NRA and the USCCA. He is also the host of a popular radio show geared toward discussions about firearms and the Second Amendment. The Shooting Straight radio show can be heard Saturdays from 2-4 p.m. on WMMB AM and FM in Melbourne, through iHeart radio nationally and via podcast and Facebook, as well.
A Timely Rebuttal To The Fallacy of Gun Control
By Royce Bartlett
Buy a Great Book; Help a Great Cause
The new book from Genius Book Publishing, Arc Road, is not simply the product of a decade of research by author Tony Tiffin, it is an evolutionary tale about society’s relationship with law enforcement.
The book starkly conveys how an incident in rural Georgia 55 years ago forever altered the way law enforcement interacts with citizens. Tiffin, a native of Georgia and a space enthusiast, had visited and shot on the range at the American Police Hall of Fame several times during his pilgrimages to nearby Kennedy Space Center.
“I knew that the National Association of Chiefs of Police (which operates the Hall of Fame) had good programs but I didn’t know the extent of it until my publisher and I began exploring partnering opportunities with the organization,” Tiffin recalled.
Following an October visit to the organization, Tiffin announced that 10 percent of all national sales of Arc Road will go toward NACOP’s tactical training program for law enforcement.
“I am excited that this partnership will actually help save lives moving forward. The thousands of names inscribed in the Museum’s memorial rotunda are crying out that we learn from their loss and make sure their incidents never repeat themselves,” Tiffin explained.
This facility focuses on the past, present and future,” explained NACOP VP of Training & Strategic Development Tara Dixon Engel, “and I see Arc Road as a linkage to all three. The book recounts an incident that happened years ago, but that continues to be a cautionary tale to today’s officers, and, even for concealed carry license holders. What matters is how we take the lessons of Arc Road and apply them in the future.”
Engel added that NACOP’s new Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) is designed to help officers benefit from such lessons and return home safely after each shift.
“We know law enforcement agencies rarely have the money to spend on state-of-the-art tactical training and they certainly can’t afford to bring in experts to train their officers. That’s where we come in. We are moving beyond traditional square range training and focusing on scenario-based, real-world experiences, just as we do with so many of out civilian classes. Many of our LEEP classes are free and designed to meet officer time constraints. We are also bringing in specialized trainers – like Dave “Boon” Benton of Benghazi fame, who will be offering four-hour “skillbuilder classes” to LEOs in 2020. We want our officers to learn from people who have survived the most challenging situations and understand the mechanics of survival,” Engel explained.
She added that NACOP’s LEEP program is being supported by a variety of organizations including the Jeffrey Alexander Foundation of New York, the Vern Goding Trust in Melbourne, FL, the Ken Davis Foundation in Texas and the Community Foundation of Brevard in Florida.
“Right now we are focusing on Florida officers and partnering with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Eastern Florida State College to make our facility an auxiliary training location. But we plan to eventually bring in officers from beyond Florida for specialized training. Tony’s generosity in dedicating a portion of Arc Road’s proceeds to our program will help make that a reality sooner,” the VP explained.
NACOP officials and Tiffin are working together to build a training class based on the Arc Road story. Recently, national trainer Jason Brooks used the Arc Road story as an illustrative tool as he taught Florida officers how to free themselves from restraints during an Oct. 28 LEEP training session called “Advanced Officer Survival.” For more information on the LEEP program, go to www.NACOPLEEP.org or to find out more about Arc Road, go to https://geniusbookpublishing.com/arc-road.html
Jason Brooks, pictured left, soon to be a regular NACOP trainer, demonstrated to law enforcement how to escape handcuffs, a technique that could have saved the lives of the officers featured in 'Arc Road.'
to secure K9 units. As of 2019 we have raised/
Stay tuned for details on an exciting new class being offered on Feb 23...FREE to civilians. This unique session is called "Are You Ready?" and will put attendees through a series of real-world scenarios to test their skill and responses. The class will include airsoft pistols, simulator and other realistic scenarios. The goal is to help citizens understand the need for firearms and safety training. Mark your calendars!
Are You Ready? We'll See!
The National Association of Chiefs of Police now offers Spanish-speaking firearms classes at The American Police Hall of Fame.
NACOP-endorsed instructor Kenny Rivera will be presenting USCCA Concealed Carry classes in Spanish. A native of Puerto Rico, Rivera's qualifications include PADI Master Diver, Certified EMT, NRA Range Safety Officer and Certified Pistol Instructor. He is also certified by the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) . To find out about classes, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Previous editions of Home on the Range have outlined the new training programs offered at The American Police Hall of Fame through The National Association of Chiefs of Police. Now each of these programs has its own web site and, as of the end of November, each will have its own detailed calendar outlining all classes available for 2020.
The civilian training program known as STEP (Safety Training Education Program) now resides at www.NACOPSTEP.org. The site will feature the full syllabus of classes, biographies of trainers, tips and tricks for better shooting and, of course, an extensive calendar. The Shooting Center web site and the Police Hall of Fame site will link to the STEP site for those searching for classes and training info.
The law enforcement training program known as LEEP (law enforcement education program) will reside at www.NACOPLEEP.org. This site will offer a calendar of all the classes offered in 2020 as well as biographies of the regular NACOP instructors and information about the special trainers who will be brought in to offer world-class LEO training.
Both sights should be up and fully functional by early December. Both are currently on-line and viewable, but additional information is being added daily.
For more information on upcoming classes or for any details about training policies, instructors, and timelines, please email Tara Dixon Engel at Tarae@aphf.org.
Looking for a little "action" and deciding what works best
Spanish CCW Classes Available
Training Schedule Soon At Your Fingertips
By Tara Dixon Engel
Learning to shoot straight is often the easy part. Mastering the terminology and understanding what it means to your safety can be more challenging. The role of the handgun trigger might be one of the best examples.
Do your eyes glaze over when your gun salesman asks, “Are you looking for double-action (DA), single-action (SA), double-action-only (DAO), striker-fired or double/single?”
Sounds more like an order from Steak n' Shake than a gun purchase! But, take heart, because most new shooters experience initial “action overload.” And, truth be told, there are plenty of experienced shooters who still don’t fully grasp the concepts.
It is hardly unusual for novice shooters to be baffled by the strange new world of strikers, hammers, firing pins, sears and trigger poundage. And, while it may be a bit intimidating at first, it isn’t rocket science.
Let’s start with the basics. Once ammunition is chambered, several things must occur in order for your gun to fire. First, you must pull the trigger. Doing so initiates the second step, in which the hammer or striker moves forward and hits the primer cup in the middle of the cartridge or on the rim of the cartridge (typical on .22s). Every firearm involves these two steps, but, through innovation, the number of ways by which the process occurs has multiplied.
The most popular action today is the striker- fired model. A striker-fired weapon lacks a hammer or firing pin. Instead, it has a striker (basically a firing pin under spring tension). Various internal safeties prevent the striker from moving forward and igniting the primer until the trigger is fully depressed. These guns are extremely safe, despite the typical absence of a manual, external safety.
Some people cringe at the idea of no manual safety. When that happens, I point out that most striker-fired guns have a trigger safety and/or a grip safety, as well as an internal firing pin safety or drop safety. My old gun counter colleagues (mostly retired police officers) used to delight in telling people, “You can chamber a round, throw the gun down and play hockey with it, and it will not discharge until you pull the trigger.”
Not sure I would advise playing hockey with your gun, even if it's a Glock. But what I love about Glocks, Springfields and other striker-fired pistols is the consistent, manageable trigger pull, not to mention those multiple internal and external safety features.
Revolvers: SA, DA, DAO
The terms “double-action” and “single-action” simply refer to the job performed by the handgun trigger.
An SA trigger performs a single task: It releases the hammer (which, in a 'single action' revolver, is cocked by your thumb). A DA trigger performs two tasks: It cocks AND releases the hammer. Typically, a DA trigger is harder to pull because it has more work to do.
If you are buying a revolver for personal defense, an SA model, like the Ruger Single-Six (typically in .22 LR) or an Uberti Cattleman (.45 Colt, .357 Mag or .44 Mag), is NOT the best choice. While today’s Western-retro SA revolvers are fun for pleasure shooting and cowboy re-enacting, the necessity of manually re-cocking the hammer makes them very impractical for self-defense.
Enter the DA revolver. There is no need to manually cock a DA revolver because the trigger performs that task internally. But shooters with small or weak hands can struggle with the heavier trigger pull. Because of this, it is wise to test the pull before you buy. If you select a revolver with an exposed hammer claw, you can always manually cock the hammer for a lighter pull, but then you are right back to the impracticality of older-style SA handguns.
For concealed carry, many manufacturers have created “hammerless” or Double Action Only (DAO) models -- like the jazzy Kimber K6 pictured on the facing page -- with no exposed claw to snag on clothing as you draw. With these models, there is no SA option. Love it or leave it. My favorite DAO revolvers are the Ruger LCR and the Smith & Wesson Airweight, both lightweight guns with reasonable trigger pulls. But I am a modern gal and not a huge fan of revolvers, no matter how evolved they are.
John Browning’s still-wildly-popular 1911 has a comfortable SA trigger pull, with the backward/ forward motion of the slide automatically re-cocking the hammer each time you shoot (so you aren't forced to do so with your thumb as you would with a single action pistol. Thus, once you chamber your first round (by racking the slide), you simply pull the very comfy trigger until the magazine is empty.
All 1911-style guns, such as those made by Colt, Kimber, Sig Sauer and Springfield, are designed to be carried “cocked and locked.” That is, you chamber a round and set the safety. If you have to shoot, you MUST remember to disengage the safety, or it will be a short gunfight.
Many people—especially new shooters—like the idea of a manual safety because it appears to offer better protection against unintentional discharges. However, that debateable benefit flies out the window if you do not routinely practice disengaging the safety under stress.
A double-action-only (DAO) semi-automatic —not to be confused with double-action/ single-action (DA/SA)— is similar to its DA revolver cousin. The trigger both cocks and releases the hammer or striker, but there is no SA option if you don’t like the heavy pull .
DAO handguns like the Kel-Tec P-11 and the Kahr PM9 offer two different price points in two dependable handguns. I love the smooth- shooting PM9 (which costs about $800). However, I am also a fan of the P-11 (often retailing south of $300). The long trigger pulls aren’t hateful on either gun, and both offer manageable recoil. Fans of DAO guns say they value the consistent trigger pull, not unlike the striker fired models, albeit heavier. Internet chat rooms are rife with shooters who prefer DAO to DA/SA because they believe accuracy is harmed when you switch from heavy to light trigger pulls.
A DA/SA firearm offers a stout initial DA trigger pull before switching into lighter SA mode. Many shooters argue that the DA first pull of these guns is much heavier than the consistent pull of DAO models. The trigger reset can also take longer in the SA mode.
So, why own a DA/SA model? For starters, you can carry the gun without fear of unintention- ally depressing the trigger. You’d have to work pretty hard to inadvertently fire a Sig P226 or a Beretta 92. There is an argument, too, that DA/SA triggers are the best training for every other gun on the market. “If you can shoot a double-single well, you can shoot anything,” I'm told.
Confused yet? The best way to clarify things is simply to shoot several guns of each style. I own and have owned a wide variety of guns, but my carry gun is a Glock 19. I trust it with my life. I figure that several million police officers can’t be wrong. Striker-fired guns shoot consistently and under the most adverse conditions. While I love my 1911, my similarly-styled Sig P238, and my easy-to-shoot M&P .380 EZ, I will alway carry my Glock if I am “walking in dark places.”
So now that you’ve
gotten “a little action,” you can decide what to do with this knowledge. Whether you opt for an SA, DA, DAO, DA/SA or striker-fired handgun, take time before you buy to shoot the gun you will trust your life to. With all these options, you should be able to find one that suits your needs perfectly. You will unknowingly make many life-and-death decisions during your stay here on earth. But this is one you can actually have some control over. Choose wisely.
Tara Dixon Engel is a NACOP-endorsed instructor, VP of Training & Strategic Development for the National Association of Chiefs of Police. She is an NRA and USCCA certified trainer, a former competitive shooter and a writer for many national gun magazines.
Home on the Range is published bi-monthly by The Shooting Center and Pro Shop at The American Police Hall of Fame & Museum, 6350 Horizon Drive, Titusville, FL 32780. On alternating months, we produce a "News Flash" version, featuring condensed stories and teasers for the next edition.
The publication is exclusively digitally delivered to over 20,000 readers each month, and there is no cost for a subscription. To receive a monthly copy, please email Tarae@aphf.org.
Brent Shepherd............................Executive Editor
Tara Dixon Engel........................Managing Editor
Paul Pawela Royce Bartlett
Eric Roessler Brian Smith
Bob Fowler John Falldorf
Note: To have an article considered for publication, please submit to Tarae@aphf.org. Content will be edited for space and editorial considerations. Photos are encouraged.
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By Michael Lazarus
It is my hope that this article will capture your attention as it relates to law enforcement officers who are “killed or assaulted in the line of duty.” Maybe someone you worked with as a partner, or super- vised, or loved dearly as a spouse, fiancée, family member, or friend? Maybe none of those apply to you, but you are just a good, law-abiding, patriotic American who understands that every “Blue Life Matters.”
But I am curious to know what impacts your thought process when you hear of a line-of-duty death? What are the questions and concerns that at once come to mind: How did it happen? Why did it happen? Did it have to happen? Whose is responsible? Was he or she (the officer) adequately and sufficiently trained and educated in preparation for the duties assigned?
The truth is: a myriad of differing emotions can lead to a plethora of questions and assumptions under these circumstances.
Today, our law enforcement officers often seem to have become the designated enemy, and targets of opportunity by many regular individuals, groups, and other entities; not simply the career criminals as one would expect. There seems to be an encouraged hatred and bitterness toward police officers by younger persons trending in our society. With brazen effrontery, they conduct their attacks on law enforcement officers with impunity and alarming frequency.
With numerous variables involved for such contemptuous behavior, it has unfortunately become the accepted norm and, sadly, is encouraged in many instances. We have seen unprovoked killings and assaults on police officers during domestic calls, ambushes, protests, traffic stops, street patrols (where they are doused with water), female officers disarmed, and many other situations and instances. We have witnessed protesting groups openly advocating for the deaths of law enforcement officers -- with little or no consequences.
Every killing or assault upon a Law Enforcement Officer is one too many.
Consequently, our training programs in Defense Tactics, Arrest and Control, and Tactical Pistol especially for female officers should become the subject of review. These must be augmented and enhanced with more relevant, realistic, innovative, and dynamic training and education to maximize performance in the tactical environment, in my own humble opinion. This is why my training organization is now offering classes through the National Association of Chiefs of Police's new LEEP (Law Enforcement Education Program) Initiative. We are joining forces to save lives...both civilian and law enforcement.
Only through intensive tactical training and education can you develop the prevailing mindset, while enhancing and improving officer confidence and competence in the management of aggressive and/or violent behavior. My company, Combative Systems International, Inc (CSI), has been vigorously relentless in developing modern training programs to provide optimum solutions for law enforcement officers in the tactical environment.
I am proud that CSI is now endorsed by the National Association of Chiefs of Police (NACOP) and affiliated with exciting new training being offered at The American Police Hall of Fame. Some of my law enforcement courses being offered at the facility in 2020 include but are not limited to:
In-Custody Combat Shooting.
Handcuff Supremacy for Close Quarter Combat and Control.
Concealed Carry Combative (Off-Duty Officers).
Skills In Counter Attacks.
For Women ONLY – Combative
If you know a law enforcement officer or love a law enforcement officer...or just want to see our officers better protected, please make them aware of the LEEP program and CSI's role in it. And, by the way, I will be offering similar classes for civilian concealed carry license holders! Stay tuned!
Sergeant Michael James Lazarus, Sr is a NACOP-endorsed instructor and a 25-year veteran of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS). He served as a Patrol Officer, Shift Operator, Field Training Officer, Investigator and Public Speaker. He graduated as a Drill, Firearms, Defense Tactics, Crowd Control and Riot Suppression Instructor. His United States training includes the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC); the Law Enforcement Officers Training School / Federal Bureau of Investigations (LEOTS/FBI); the United States Government Joint Training Center (USGJTC), the National Rifle Association (NRA), the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF/C-IED), and the International Criminal Investigative Training Assessment Program as a Master Instructor (ICTAP/DOJ) in Wardak, Afghanistan. His service as a Defense Contractor (4-1/2 yrs) included among other areas; ISAF-SOF and NATO Team Sub Zero Subject Matter Expert.
Office: (954) 848 – 1869
Cell: (954) 661 – 0484
In The Line of Duty:
In 2018, 58,866 police officers
were assaulted in the line of duty, with 31% sustaining injuries
from those assaults.
Also in 2018, the Officer Down Memorial Page lists
150 line-of-duty deaths, which
is one death every 58 hours.
Killed or Assaulted
Did You Know?