1 Sept 21
This is a note from my good friend, and esteemed colleague, Larry Mudgett, in response to my Quip on NYPD’s recent upgrade to five-pound Glock triggers.
Larry is a legend within our Art. I’ve learned much from him.
When Larry talks, I listen!
“As a young officer in the LAPD Academy (early 1970s), I was taught to keep my finger on the trigger of my revolver any time my gun was in my hand. If I were observed in a scenario training exercise with my finger off the trigger I was called-out as ‘not being ready.’
This was the background of the LAPD.
I became Chief Firearms Instructor for the LAPD. I was assigned to our Training Division for thirteen years at the end of my career.
There, I introduced Jeff Cooper’s Four Universal Safety Rules, and enforced them!
I helped to establish the concept within the LAPD that a discharge which involved a violation of one of the Universal Safety Rules was an act of negligence and worthy of discipline. These rules were pounded into both the recruits and in-service officers.
Officers who attended my Patrol Rifle School, my Tactical Shotgun Course, my Firearms Instructor Schools, or the Autopistol Transition Schools were held to strict standards regarding
safety rules.
Within a few years, the overwhelming majority of our officers had been ‘retrained’ regarding Cooper’s Rule Three:
‘Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target, and you intend to shoot.’
(LAPD’s version of the Rule, as modified by me.)
We accomplished this strict adherence to the rules initially with the DA autos. Officers were following the rules so well that accidental discharges were almost unknown. These habits were well established when we transitioned to 5.5-pound-trigger Glock pistols. Our accidental discharge incidents remained at almost zero.
I was asked to conduct limited training for another agency in Southern CA. I have only the greatest respect for this excellent organization. However, I did notice that officers often had their fingers on the trigger during tactical training situations, room-clearing, etc. Keeping ones finger off the trigger was obviously not a habit they had acquired. I did bring this to the attention of several supervisors. The response suggested that they were okay with this existing situation, stating, ‘That is okay, as we do not cover each other.’
With the M9 (Beretta) pistol, their accident rate remained low, as the DA M9 required a long trigger pull of about twelve pounds as I recall.
When this agency subsequently switched to Glocks, their accident rate went off the charts!
The common practice of having the finger on the trigger during searches, etc, resulted in a relative few ADs with the twelve-pound DA M9. When switching to the Glock, with its 5.5 pound trigger, the jump in accidents became a public news story! Everyone was scrambling to find out why they were having a major increase in accidents.
It was no secret to me! They had not made a habit of adhering to Rule 3. A 5.5 pound trigger is simply not as forgiving as a twelve-pound trigger.
If NYPD sees a jump in accidents with the switch to the 5.5 pound trigger, they need look no further than Rule-3 violations!
It was a major job to get the 10k officers of the LAPD to change their habits and keep their fingers off the trigger, but it was worth the effort. Creating new habits takes time and repetition, and it takes someone willing to hold peoples’ feet to the fire and make it happen.
It can be done.”
There is no doubt that Larry’s uncompromising insistence on correct gun-handling has prevented uncounted UDs. In so doing, Larry managed to ruffle feathers up and down the System, as you might imagine!
No matter how diplomatic you try to be, forward progress will always upset some people, terrify others!