11 July 13

For the past few days, I’ve been working with State Police instructors, and some local officers, in an eastern state. The curriculum was Urban Rifle.

My students are competent and enthusiastic, and we did a number of exciting drills. My students are into the modern gun culture, go armed all the time, and are eager to learn new things, to which I did my best to expose them.

However, from sterile competition, and also from ossified orthodoxy that has remained unchanged for decades within many large police organizations, I still saw bad, indeed fatal, habits exhibited in some of my students, that I did my best to altogether exorcize from their thinking.

The most harmful of these bad habits is “relaxing too soon!”

Relaxing too soon manifests itself with officers routinely letting their guard down the instant they think an exercise has ended, engaging their rifle’s manual safety lever way too soon, naively assuming additional shooting will not be necessary.

I repeatedly corrected them, insisting that they go through a correct “stand-down” routine at the end of every drill, moving, reloading, and looking all around. Many struggled with this, explaining that engaging the manual immediately “at the end of the drill” had been pounded into them for years, because, of course, the act was equated to increased “safety” by naive policy-makers, who don’t even carry a gun.

I reminded them that they don’t get to arbitrarily declare any exercise “over,” as someone may forget to tell the violent felons they are confronting, and felons may not be in a cooperative mood anyway!

I succeeded in breaking this “premature safety-engagement” habit, but it took many repetitions, and exposure to an updated philosophy that places priorities in proper sequence!

We train heroes! These Operators will now go out and update their own cadres of students, and I’m sure our modern methods, including hot ranges, will upset some grass-eaters up the food-chain. But, no true advancement ever takes place without opposition from those whose fossilized houses-of-cards are threatened.

“Sooner or later, we all must die. Warriors choose to do so on their feet, weapons in hand, defiantly standing between their enemies and those they hold dear. Cowards do so on their bellies, unarmed”

David Weber