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.

Source: Why the police shouldn’t use Glocks – LA Times

If you are not aware of this article, you might be living under a flint rock. I’ve been waiting to touch on this to see if I caught somebody going the extra mile in the thinking and so far, nyet.

So Bob lays out the idea that cops should not carry Safe-Action-Type guns with them for the reasons he exposed in the article. The Interwebs exploded with variations from Glock-hater to “It is a question of training” which is what I will side myself.  And I am still gonna freak you guys out: Bob is right.

Bob is right for one simple reason: Police Departments will NOT mandate training farther than the original at the Academy plus the qualifications. Cops will not train and keep proficiency with their weapons on their own (I know, I am generalizing, but for sake of argument..yada yada) So, to issue Glocks to police officers is going to be a risky proposition even with a 12 pound trigger. About the only thing riskier would be to issue 1911s and train officers to carry in Condition Three. And to poop on Bob’s article, I think he failed to make this point clearer.

Will a DAO or DA/SA gun with external safety stop the negligent discharges? Nope, but I think they will go down among a group that neglects proper training and regular proficiency practice. Until the Bean Counters take a rear seat to the Firearms Trainers, we will continue to see this issue among police forces.



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By Miguel.GFZ

Semi-retired like Vito Corleone before the heart attack. Consiglieri to J.Kb and AWA. I lived in a Gun Control Paradise: It sucked and got people killed. I do believe that Freedom scares the political elites.

24 thoughts on “Crapstorm of the week: Why the police shouldn’t use Glocks .”
  1. It’s not just a matter of bean counting, it is a matter of the cognitive dissonance on the issue of police and firearms training.

    The NYPD (the largest PD in the US) does not regularly train its offices or provide more than a bare minimum ammo for practice. The attitude behind this been somewhat “anti-gun” in that cops who become proficient with their firearms are more likely to use them.

    The problems with this attitude are:

    1) They provide little to no alternative training for peaceful resolution so the NYPD usually turn to their guns anyway,

    2) Police still have guns and have little to no ability to use them well (47 shots, perp not hit, 2 bystanders shot).

    It’s almost Kafkaesque in its idiocy. The result is a bunch of shoot first cops who are about as useful behind the trigger as Elmer Fudd, which is about the worse possible combination. Remember, it was an NYPD officer in the famous pic of the cop taking cover with an AR with his EOTech on backwards.

    If Bob is right and cops shouldn’t have Glocks, than I have to come out and say, cops shouldn’t have guns. Giving them guns less prone to ADs isn’t going to fix anything if they don’t know how to disengage the safeties or can’t hit what they are aiming at, We should go the way of the British police force and arm our cops with pepper spray, night sticks, and tasers, and only give guns to specially trained police who respond when called. Either that, or tax payers need to ask why they are providing 6 figure salaries to incompetent idiots and boobs and should demand higher levels of training and qualifications.

  2. I’ve tucked into this subject before, but here goes- I think the problem with issuing Glocks to a police department is not just a matter of training, but of managing the liability exposure. NYC decided to require a wildly heavy trigger in their issue weapons to mitigate NDs, but also to manage the use of the ‘hair trigger just went off!’ excuse by its officers, to cover up for negligence or harmful intent. Other offices have moved away from the Glock because of the requirement to release the striker during teardown. This moment is the core of a great many ND stories, some of them with ruinous results. Moving away from the Glock mitigates not only the likelihood of an ND during teardown, but also means that the old ‘I was cleaning my gun and it went off’ excuse, which saw a great resurgence with the prevalence of the Glock, was no longer as easy to use.

    In the end, I do think that the Glock is not a good choice for general issue, although I do think they are robust and serviceable arms. While it does not absolve the department of the training requirement, moving to an external safety gives the department an extra layer of safety, an easily instructed one, to mitigate their exposure to ND, and moving to a platform that does not require a striker release removes the most likely fail point in the cleaning and teardown process. It doesn’t change the fact that the officers need to know their weapon and the safety rules by heart, but it does increase the margin of error for officers that are a little substandard in their training.

  3. Short trigger pull my ass! Obviously they’ve never shot a 1911… Or any other quality semi auto, and probably never SEEN a revolver or shot one single action. It IS about training, recurrent, mandatory, trips to the range and shooting.

    1. And therein lies the problem (or the feature, depending on the political views of the department administrators).

      Training costs money. It costs in the form of ammunition, time taken away from patrolling (the unions wouldn’t stand for requiring training during off-hours), hiring actual qualified trainers, and maintaining decent training facilities.

      In addition to the fiscal costs, training increases the chances that the officers will pass on their knowledge and skills, which could bring about a resurgence in the gun culture.

      The department administrators (and the politicians who control them) cannot have that. So they’ll deny training, keep their officers incompetent when it comes to guns, and continue to stifle the gun culture, and justify it all by counting the costs “saved”.

  4. Glock isn’t my favorite. But, what is the fix for pointing a loaded gun at somebody, and. pulling the trigger?

    1. I don’t know what the fix is, but the safest place you can be in a gun fight with an NYPD officer is standing very still, directly in front of him, about 25 yards away.

  5. The thing is, there’s really no hardware fix to the problem of not enough training.
    There is no trigger mechanism- SA, TDA, DAO, or striker- that doesn’t require a bit of practice for both proficiency when shooting, or safety when handling administratively.

  6. Well done. You, and Bob, just provided the anti-gun nutjobs all the ammunition they need to decry the Glock as an unsafe firearm and anyone who carries them as unsafe users.

    After all, if a trained police officer can’t figure them out, what makes you think you can? And, yes, we all know how flawed that argument is, but the public, on average, doesn’t.

    1. Then instead of bitching, you teach people the truth. That is why we do what we do, that is why we do not condone BS from our side. Liars are on the Anti side, go take your place there.

      1. So I accurately note that you’re actively enabling the antis, and you pull a “I know you are but what am I?”

        Bless your heart.

        1. OK, let’s play. Does the average police officer need increased firearms training or not? I await your answer. And I would request you choose a shorter moniker if you want to be addressed other than “You” and “troll”.

        2. Ah, the good old “skim until offended” commentator.
          And yes, if the PD’s in question are going to spend crap-all on regular training, or are going to actively poo-poo the gun culture, then Glocks aren’t for them. Better they go back to DAO S&W Model 64’s.
          In that case, they can only spray about 6 shots into the innocent bystanders instead of 16.

  7. Accidental Discharge (AD), Negligent Discharge (ND), which is it?

    An anecdote to clarify – a co-worker had their house burn to the ground after spawn launched a flare gun round into a closet full of laundry. Says I, “Oh, a Negligent Discharge”, says co-worker, “NOooo, it was an AX-EE-DEN-TAL Discharge.” Um, actually, grossly negligent.

    There is certainly a line, however fuzzy, between an AD and a ND. Where ever that line is, it is easy to arbitrarily declare that it is the users fault (and it often is). In days of old getting drunk and dropping a six-shooter and shooting yer’self in the arse may have been regarded as a AD. Until enough figured out not to load all six chambers, then it became a NG. Manual of Arms changed before design fixed what was once considered a AD then became a ND.

    Of greater interest is that every mode of firearm has intrinsic characteristics that lend that model more or less likely to AD/NDs as similar firearms. As every model has dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands of different design and wear characteristics, the probability that two different models have the AD/ND rate converges on Zero, essentially, immediately as no two guns are identical . This is pretty basic theory that can be derived by anybody taking an intro level calculus based stats and probability class. As a corollary, consider the reliability of two guns from the same product line…

    Nonetheless, a conscientious individual may never experience any difference in AD/ND rates between model A and model B (except model C which they declare to be ‘junk’).

    But the Police Chief of a mid or large sized police force may be a bit motivated when faced with the probability that his force may experience just one more AD/ND in ten years over the entire force because they chose model A over model B.

  8. This is a training issue.

    More than a few years ago, I was responding to a journalist who had come to the same conclusion about Glocks (that the police shouldn’t have them because they were “too dangerous”).

    As I told him, the reality is, the police are minimally trained in lots of areas, not just with handguns. This is absolutely a training issue. Do I like the fact that a Glock requires the trigger to be pulled as part of the breakdown/cleaning process? No. Do I think the Glock is inherently unsafe? No.

    I don’t own one, and I might never own one, so I’m not a fan, but I’ll defend them. I don’t view them as inherently unsafe merely because of their design or lack of a manual safety. I own several guns that have no manual safety. I have never accidentally, unintentionally, or negligently discharged any of them.

    If people are willing to learn and commit to actually using the four rules, then it doesn’t matter. Unless a gun actually has a habit of discharging when no one/nothing is pulling the trigger, the firearm itself isn’t the problem.

    This is a training issue.

    1. It is a funding issue. No funding, no training, no ammo for training, no space for training, no pay to the officers to go train. It is also a institutional/cultural issue: I am a cop, I got training (basic) I have a badge = I know what I am doing. This one is possibly the most pervasive of all. Few are the cops that after being beaten at a “silly IDPA/USPSA match” by some pot-bellied 65 year old with a bad hip, return to get some more time and improve. I joke that the NRA holds Police Matches so the cops don’t get embarrassed by civilians beating them at their own game 😀

      1. I won’t argue that funding precedes it. But I think my point that the police train to a minimum in lots of areas is the point. As a result, we don’t end up with experts, but people who are barely adequate when we are told they are highly trained. The only way they end up highly trained is if they pursue it themselves.

        And since training WILL resolve this issue, because it IS a software issue, not a hardware issue, training is what is needed. Does that mean more funding is needed? Maybe, or maybe the resources need to be spent/allocated better to begin with, with regard to more training, more ammo, more…

    2. My Springfield XD requires the trigger to be pulled during breakdown, too. And I consider the XD to be one of the inherently safer firearms in the house.

      The solution isn’t to redesign an existing handgun to not need the sear to be released to strip it down. The solution is to double- and triple-check (and quadruple check, just to be sure) and be 100% damn sure there’s no round in there, and to still make sure it’s pointed in a safe direction when the trigger is pulled.

      Layers and layers of safety redundancies, but they all depend on the user to actually use them (not unlike using eye and ear protection when shooting). The “best practices” are all well-documented, and none are particularly onerous or troublesome. There’s no excuse for not following them.

    1. Indeed, that is the only safety that, when used, is 100% guaranteed to keep the gun from firing negligently or accidentally.

      Just like ear and eye protection, all the internal, external, and manual safeties in the world won’t make a lick of difference if the user bypasses or refuses to use them.

  9. My response that I just posted to
    Mr. Owens, in reading your blog and this article, I noticed that you are a proud Gunsite graduate, and use same to lend authority and credibility to your pontifications on the subject of defensive handguns and shooting – so, I got to wondering which pistol you used for Gunsite 250?
    Oh, a Walther PPQ – ummmm, that looks a lot like one of those “unforgiving” polymer-frame, striker-fired pistols with a short trigger pull and no external safeties…
    Wonder what the trigger’s like on that pistol?
    “Quick Defense Trigger: Smooth, light 5.6 lb trigger pull for all shots. Short .4″ trigger travel and .1″ trigger reset for fast, accurate second shots. Facilitates double-taps. Superb trigger feel aids accuracy.”
    By Jove, that sounds an awful lot like…a Glock or a S&W M&P. But, since it’s a *Walther*, it must be OK…
    So, how did you do at Gunsite with your “NotAGlock” Walther PPQ?
    “Yes, I “died” three times at Gunsite.
    In two runs on different indoor simulators I got tunnel vision. I cleared the rooms with deliberate intent, focusing so closely on every interior corner and angle that I simply failed to notice solitary bad guys standing outside the windows as I passed by.
    My third “death” was simply mortifying. I successfully cleared a room, and then encountered a target almost right on top of me in the narrow hallway beyond. I pointed, instead of looking at the front sight, and yanked the trigger instead of pressing it. I missed twice at five feet.”
    Golly gee willikers, you went to some of the best defensive handgun training in the world, and during a run in the Gunsite Funhouse – still regarded as one of the premier facilities for police gunfight and CQB/house-clearing training – you STILL ganked a couple of close-range shots with “a polymer-frame, striker-fired pistol with a short trigger pull and no external safeties.”
    Guess “the brutal reality that short trigger pulls and natural human reflexes are a deadly combination” worked out somewhat differently for you……/11/13/gunfighter-school-n1914586
    If only you’d been using one of those “DA/SA handguns like the Sig Sauer “P”-series, the Beretta 9 series and PX4 series, CZs, Smith & Wesson’s metal-frame semis,Ruger’s SR series, etc.” “with much longer double-action triggers that are just as easy to fire deliberately but that are much harder to fire accidentally,” as the founder of Gunsite, the late Col. Jeff Cooper advocated – oh wait, here’s what Col. Cooper ACTUALLY said about DA/SA pistols:
    October 1973–“Double action in an auto pistol seems to me an ingenious solution to a non-existent problem.”
    “In reflecting upon a recent all-cop pistol session we conducted over in California, it is apparent once again that cops, as a group, are pretty hard to train. Those who are stuck with the crunchenticker – and these are many – will persist with the slow-crunch technique in spite of all advice to the contrary. This system is almost universal in the law enforcement establishment. If it is done accurately it is too slow. If it is done rapidly it is inaccurate. It is possible that I am paying too much attention to unrealistically high levels of performance, which are really not necessary in gun fighting. Still, I like to see people do as well as they can. It is bothersome to see them make no effort to do so.
    There has never been much question about it, and it is indisputable after decades of observation that the single-action self-loading pistol – the Colt 1911 and its clones – is the easiest, heavy-duty sidearm with which to hit. The crunchenticker is the most difficult, and the Glock is somewhere in the middle. Shooting a Glock is simply shooting a single-action self-loader with no safety and a very poor trigger. If real excellence is not the objective, this is a satisfactory system to employ.”
    Perhaps Buz Mills should consider revoking your Gunsite 250 certificate for “blatant public hypocrisy unbecoming of a national gun-rights advocate,” or at least requiring you to repeat the course with a Beretta or SIG DA/SA pistol “with much longer double-action triggers that are just as easy to fire deliberately but that are much harder to fire accidentally” – and you yourself might want to read Matthew 7:1-5 before attempting to pander to low-information readers again…

  10. This is my response to a rebuttal elsewhere on Facebook:

    I’m glad that Bob Owens got to graduate from Gunsite, and I greatly enjoyed the articles he wrote about his experience when I first read them.

    I’m OK with the fact that he used what many would consider a “gamer gun,” his 5″ longslide Walther PPQ, even though he admits that “The Kahr CM9 is my current every-day carry gun.” ( He’s not alone in training with a range gun and carrying a subcompact pocket pistol, although I’d say it’s a shame to throw away 5 days and 1000’s of dollars and rounds worth of top-notch training and “muscle memory” by not carrying the same gun that he trained with(or at least stick with the same operating system, by carrying a Walther PPS).

    I like and own several of the DA pistols Bob referenced in this latest post, and I actually agree with him that they’re not that hard to shoot, once you learn how. I just wish he would have argued FOR DA pistols based on their own merits, instead of AGAINST short-trigger, no-external-safety pistols like the one he himself used at Gunsite.

    I don’t even have a problem with the fact that he completely missed a target under pressure at extremely close range – I’ve done the same in IDPA matches, and as long as we didn’t harm or endanger ourselves or a fellow shooter, honestly acknowledge our own fault, and learn from the experience, it’s OK(all of which Bob Owens did, to his credit:

    However, what beggars his credibility and my credulity, is less than a year later, while speaking in a national forum as a national advocate and authority on gun rights and gun ownership, blithely dismissing the same kind of human fault and error as being an unavoidable part of human nature, and instead assigning blame to the inanimate tool. It’s as if Bob Owens unilaterally decided that cops and other folks who carry Glocks and similar pistols can’t reasonably be expected to learn and adhere to Cooper’s Rules of Gunhandling(as he was personally taught at Gunsite itself mere months ago), because training is “utterly irrelevant,” when “humans are gonna be human,” and instead they need guns designed to take more of the burden of safety out of our frail, fallible, merely-human hands. I can’t imagine that Col. Cooper would have tolerated that for a second, as staunch an advocate of personal responsibility and training as he was, and I doubt that the current staff of Gunsite would feel any differently.

    I have to wonder, why the change? Did Bob Owens have an epiphany at Gunsite, or shortly after, that suddenly made him realize why short-trigger, no-external-safety pistols like Glocks and S&W M&Ps(AND his Walther PPQ, AND the Springfield XD9 he ALSO used to own) are such a bad idea? Did Bob, or a fellow student, have an AD under circumstances similar to the cops he cited in his article? Did Bob somehow come to the realization that he wouldn’t have been “killed” in the Gunsite Funhouse if his pistol had had a long, heavy double-action trigger like his Kahr CM9(which he DIDN’T shoot at Gunsite)?

    If so, why didn’t he say so in his article? Space limitations aside, surely he could have squeezed in a simple sentence or two about how his personal experience owning short-trigger, no-manual-safety pistols and shooting same under stress at Gunsite made him realize how unforgivingly dangerous they are?

    At least he could have covered himself by acknowledging that such pistols are indeed safe(r) in the hands of trained, conscientious handlers – that would have been merely “elitist,” and wouldn’t have offended thousands of Glock owners who ARE trained and conscientious(or at least regard themselves as such).

    As it is, the tone of his L.A. Times op-ed and his follow-up article strongly suggests to me that Bob Owens decided to pander to the current popular narrative that “cops shoot too many [non-white]people,” and chose to lay the blame at the feet of the guns used(which are strikingly similar to the ones he himself admits to owning and training with), because that line of reasoning was easier to sell to the Times’ editors and readership…

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