Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Four Rules of Firearm Safety? Instructor Shoots a CCW Student.


The Palm Springs Desert Sun* reports that a Riverside California County Sheriff's Department trainer (apparently not a sworn officer) shot a man attending a concealed weapons permit firearms training class.

A sheriff’s department spokesman stated that as gun range staff were inspecting student's firearms to ensure they were unloaded, the range staff member administered a "trigger pull test" and shot the student in the leg.

Paramedics transported the citizen to a local hospital where he received treatment for a non-life-threatening wound. 

The news report goes on to say that the sheriff's Perris Station staff and the staff at the Ben Clark Training Center are investigating the "accidental discharge" incident.

I can save them the trouble.

The instructor, having failed to check and see if the firearm was loaded, pointed the firearm at the student’s leg, and intentionally pulled the trigger. 

Did the instructor intent to shoot the student?  Undoubtedly no; however, this was negligence, not an accident.

The instructor violated at least two of the firearm safety rules.

1. The instructor did not treat the firearm as if it was loaded.

2.  The instructor did not point the muzzle of the firearm in a safe direction.

The four firearm safety rules are multilayered.  You can typically violate one without catastrophic consequences.  Once you begin to violate two or more you are in trouble.

The four firearm safety rules:

1. Treat every firearm as if it is loaded at all times.

2. Always point the firearm in a safe direction — this is dependent upon the environment and circumstances. We line in a 360-degree world.  A safe direction one minute may not be safe a moment later.

3. Keep your finger off the trigger unless you are intentionally firing a shot. Discard all other variations of this rule.  Intentionally firing a shot.

4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

From the Palm Springs Desert Sun, Published Aug. 24, 2019

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Think Before Shooting--Fleeing Suspects

Jason Moak--Suspected Burglar

Recently Concealed Nation ran an article that recounts a burglary incident and shooting that happened in German Township, Ohio. Richard Winegardner’s unoccupied home has been burglarized numerous times over the last few months; however, this time it happened while Winegardner was home and in the shower. You can click on these links to read the Concealed Nation article and news account.

Winegardner calls 911 while he is confronting the person in his house and simultaneously providing the dispatcher information. It seems that the suspected burglar (later identified as Jason Moak) at some point decided to flee and Winegardner apparently gave chase, ultimately firing numerous shots at Moak’s SUV. The news reports that police found the SUV with the back window shot out, bullet holes in the interior, and the rear bumper.

The Concealed Nation article closes with a comment that causes some concern. “While we never recommend shooting at a fleeing suspect, this particular case ended up working out. Had Winegardner shot Moak, well, that could have been a different ending for Winegardner.” It is not clear whether the comment implies that it was better to shoot at the fleeing Moak rather than using deadly force in the residence or whether it is fortunate that although Winegardner shot at Moak’s vehicle he did not hit him.

Ohio like many states has a form of a presumption of reasonableness if you use force or deadly force against someone who has unlawfully, or in some circumstances, unlawfully and forcibly entered an occupied habitation (and in some states) vehicle, or business. Under Ohio law* there is a presumption that a defender acted in self-defense or defense of another if he used deadly force against another if the person against whom the defensive force was used had unlawfully entered (or was in the process of unlawfully entering) the residence or vehicle that the defender occupied. Further, Ohio law does not require the defender to retreat before using force in self-defense, defense of another, or defense of his residence.

Ohio law does not say anything about chasing someone who is no longer in the occupied residence, who is in fact fleeing from the scene, and is not posing a deadly threat. I confess surprise that prosecutors did not charge Winegardner criminally for shooting at Moak’s vehicle.

Knowing your state’s specific laws associated with these circumstances can be very important. Texas law for example presumes you acted reasonably and justifiably if you use force or deadly force to defend yourself or another innocent against an intruder who unlawfully and with force enters your occupied habitation (home or residence), vehicle, or place of business or employment. 

Texas law requires meeting these two provisions to give rise to this important legal presumption. Someone unlawfully entering your occupied residence through an unlocked front door would not meet the use of force provision and therefore not enjoy the presumption of reasonableness. Of course this does not mean that you could not argue self-defense under the totality of the circumstances if someone illegally entered through an unlocked door and subsequently presented a threat of unlawful deadly force.

Many people find themselves in trouble when an incident evolves from one in which deadly force was justified into one where the perpetrator is fleeing and the defender is now the aggressor. It is clear that some people cannot control what is apparently an irresistible urge to chase after and shoot at someone who is fleeing from a confrontation. A quick Internet search for “chases robber” or “chases burglar” shows numerous instances. Although some states have fleeing felon provisions in the law, using deadly force under these circumstances can potentially be very problematic for how and where you live the rest of your life.

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* Ohio 2901.05 Burden of proof - reasonable doubt - self-defense: Section B (2) A person is presumed to have acted in self-defense or defense of another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if the person against whom the defensive force is used is in the process of unlawfully and without privilege to do so entering, or has unlawfully and without privilege to do so entered, the residence or vehicle occupied by the person using the defensive force.



Friday, July 26, 2019

The Same Thing, the Correct Way, 48 out of 50 Times

I recently had to fire the Texas License to Carry qualification to renew my instructor certificate. In Texas an LTC instructor must qualify with a .22 caliber or larger revolver and a semi-automatic pistol. 

For the revolver I chose to qualify with a 4-inch S&W 44 Remington Magnum with a heavy (however not absolutely full power) 240 grain load that is about the equivalent of the Remington factory Semi-Jacketed HP load. For the semi-auto I shot my everyday carry SIG P320 carry in 9mm with the equivalent of the Hornady 135gr Critical Duty load. 

My goal for the semi was 50 shots in the "X" ring. To shoot well you must do the same thing, the correct way, every time. My students tell me that my mantra is often the one thing that really sticks in their mind. I tend to repeat it over and over during the course of a class. I did not do this with the semi and slipped two in the Ten ring due to two sloppy trigger pulls. The same thing, the correct way, 48 out of 50 times--I missed my goal.

Chased the same goal with the revolver and dropped a few more outside the "X" ring and two in the Nine ring. Grrrrrr. . .



The Texas License to Carry qualification is as follows: Your handgun must be .22 caliber or larger. 


Course of Fire:

3 yard line – 20 shots:

- 1 shot in 2 seconds, 5 times
- 2 shots in 3 seconds, 5 times
- 5 shots in 10 seconds, once

7 yard line – 20 shots:


- 5 shots in 10 seconds, once
- 1 shot in 3 seconds, 5 times - 2 shots in 4 seconds, once - 3 shots in 6 seconds, once - 5 shots in 15 seconds, once

15 yard line – 10 shots:
 

- 2 shots in 6 seconds, once - 3 shots in 9 seconds, once - 5 shots in 15 seconds, once

An LTC student must score of 70% or 175 points of a possible 250 to pass. An LTC instructor must score at least 90% or 225 points to pass. Five points for each shot within the 8 ring, 4 points for each shot within the 7 ring, 3 points for each shot within the colored silhouette, but outside the 7 ring, no points for shots outside the silhouette.

I fired a possible score of 250 on both qualifications; however, that was not the point.

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Thursday, July 4, 2019

Advanced Low Light Course

In Mid-May 2019, I conducted an advanced Low Light course with two students who have progressed to this level. For the qualification, we fired the MAG 20 Live Fire course. I tossed in an extra challenge by covering each target with a new t-shirt so the students did not have a reference aiming point.

We used the San Antonio Police Department target and scored it as five points in the inner “bottle,” four points inside the next scoring area, and zero points outside the four point ring or for misses.

⁣We shot a single speed qualifier in daylight for a control score and then in low light with no moon. I shot the qualifier as well and achieved a 300 with a 5-5/8ths inch group. I used a P320 Carry with Lima Module, a Trijicon Red Dot and a Fenix hand-held flashlight.

To learn more about the MAG20 qualifier, go to the link here.


SIG P320 Carry with the LIMA Module
At 15 yards the standard MAG20 qualifier has six shots using the Weaver stance, six shots using the modified Chapman, and six shots using the Isosceles with a reload between each string. The only challenge with the qualifier was using the Isosceles stance at 15 yards—very difficult with a hand-held light unless you are using the syringe technique and then the pistol/light grip will shift with every shot. With the Fenix light I was using, the tailcap design makes the syringe technique almost impossible. The student’s flashlights had a similar design.

Given these challenges, I allowed the students to use the Isosceles or if they preferred the modified Chapman or Weaver. At 15 yards, I shot it using the Weaver, then Chapman, then Weaver and used the 
Harries flashlight technique.

Harries Technique
Harries Technique
You must practice low light techniques to have any hope of using them under stress. The students in this course have mastered low light shooting through practice and taking more advanced classes. 

You can practice these techniques with live fire during daylight if your range won’t allow night shooting. If your local range has IDPA matches, shoot the course of fire using your flashlight if the match director will permit it. You won’t win the match; however, you will learn how to shoot and manipulate your pistol under some stress.

To my knowledge, no data exists concerning private citizen-involved shootings with criminals under low light conditions; however, since a lot of criminal activity occurs after dark we can assume that there is a likely correlation. There are several reasons to use a flashlight: to observe and detect, to illuminate and navigate, to eliminate anonymity, and to identify and engage threats. Used properly, a flashlight lets you see danger before it can affect you and it can encourage the danger waiting in the dark to go elsewhere.

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