It’s the Man, Not the Machine

There are several well-known figures in the shooting community that, for the life of me, I can’t understand why they’re famous. One of those figures is Bob Owens. His advocacy of guilty until proven innocent leaves a bad taste in my mouth but when I read prime derp like this I’m left questioning is credentials:

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.

Here is another problem with Owens, he’s a cop apologist to a fault. In his world, as far as I can tell, police officers are seldom, if ever, at fault for their screw ups. But the reason people blame the lack of training for negligent discharges is because it is entirely due to a lack of training. Blaming the short trigger pull of a Glock pistol ignores the fact that an officer who fired negligently had their finger on the trigger before they were ready to shoot. There’s a reason that’s one of the four rules of firearms safety: so long as your finger isn’t on the trigger the gun will not fire.

Adding a manual safety won’t solve this problem because an officer will likely train to disengage that safety as they’re drawing their weapon. Longer trigger pulls don’t address the problem of the finger being on the trigger when the officer is not intending to shoot. So long as an officer’s finger lies on the trigger when they’re not planning to fire the chances of catastrophe are infinitely higher than they would be otherwise.

It’s no secret that police officers receive substandard training. Many officers only fire their gun during annual or biannual qualifiers. Some hit the range between qualifiers, which is good. But I think officers should also be participating in action pistol sports to get some semblance of handling their primary firearm under stress (granted, a sport isn’t as stressful as getting shot at but it at least familiarizes you with how you will operate a firearm under stress).