10 May 2015

Stop the Accidental Shootings!

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Bob Owens argues, perfectly correctly, that policemen should not be carrying Glocks.

In terms of mechanical design, there are few flaws with Glock pistols. If a law enforcement officer, soldier or citizen does exactly what they are supposed to do all of the time with cyborg certainty, there will be no problems with the Glock or other popular pistols mimicking its basic design. Unfortunately, “RoboCop” is only a movie, and humans are liable to make similar mistakes over and over again.

The underlying problem with these pistols is a short trigger pull and the lack of an external safety. In real-world encounters, a short trigger pull can be lethal, in part because a significant percentage of law enforcement officers — some experts say as high as 20% — put their finger on the trigger of their weapons when under stress. According to firearms trainers, most officers are completely unaware of their tendency to do this and have a hard time believing it, even when they’re shown video evidence from training exercises.

For more than 35 years, officer-involved accidental discharges with Glocks and Glock-like weapons have been blamed on a lack of training or negligence on the part of the individual cops. What critics should be addressing instead is the brutal reality that short trigger pulls and natural human reflexes are a deadly combination.

Though short trigger-pull guns dominate the law enforcement market, they aren’t the only game in town. A number of major and minor agencies use guns with much longer double-action triggers that are just as easy to fire deliberately but that are much harder to fire accidentally. The half-inch difference of trigger travel may not sound like much, but it can be the difference between life and death.

Among the many very bad ideas that proliferated in Western society since the 1960s is the pernicious notion that one should have a trigger-safety and go around treating a semi-automatic pistol as if it was a revolver.

This has even led to people going around asserting that you don’t want a pistol with a real safety, because it’s so hard to move a safety lever to the off position.

Glocks are cheap, reliable, and easy to shoot accurately… but they are a very bad choice for careless people and non-experts. Really, the Glock design is best carried, the way the Israelis do, with an empty chamber.

Gaston Glock should have put a regulation safety on his design.

4 Feedbacks on "Stop the Accidental Shootings!"

Robert A.

Exactly right. John Moses Browning…
Peace be upon him.


Funny…my brother has carried a Glock 17 & 19 as his primary weapon for over 20 years as a cop and hasn’t managed to accidentally shoot anyone. He’s had to draw quite a bit, but it’s never just gone off. I myself (retired military) had a Glock 21 and never had it go “boom” unless I deliberately pulled the trigger.


There is no doubt that a cocked auto is far more likely to go off accidently then is a revolver. It is foolish to say “gee, it never happened to me so it can’t be true”. It happens, period. Additionally it is easier to fire many rounds from an auto then a six shooter. Both easier mechanically and easier when your concern is to not run out of ammo before the firefight ends. With a six shooter you are constantly aware of having just six bullets and a somewhat awkward reload when the six bulets are fired. This is important because every round that goes downrange hits something or someone. A recent example in New York City where two policemen responded to a shooter failed to hit the shooter but hit two innocent bystanders. Would I suggest that police give up their glocks? No! What I would suggest is that the gun can be improved and the standards for police regarding their guns can be improved. Accidental shootings by police harm the citizenry and the police so why shouldn’t we do whatever it takes to reduce this risk.


If John Moses Browning (Peace be upon him) were still alive, he’d build a pistol just like a Glock. And it would have a grip safety as well as a regulation safety.


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