May 9, 2015

BOB OWENS: Why The Police Shouldn’t Use Glocks.

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.

Read the whole thing. I own several Glocks and they’re excellent guns. But I don’t operate in the conditions that a police officer does. Honestly, most of the time they’d be better off with a classic Smith & Wesson revolver. I guess I’ll have to quote Col. Jeff Cooper again:

It has never been clear to me why increased magazine capacity in a defensive pistol is particularly choice. The bigger the magazine the bigger the gun, and the bigger the gun the harder it is to get hold of for people with small hands. And what, pray, does one need all those rounds for? How many lethal antagonists do you think you are going to be able to handle? Once when Bruce Nelson was asked by a suspect if the thirteen-round magazine in the P35 was not a big advantage, Bruce’s answer was, “Well, yes, if you plan to miss a lot.” The highest score I know of at this time achieved by one man against a group of armed adversaries was recorded in (of all places) the Ivory Coast! There, some years ago, a graduate student of mine laid out five goblins, with four dead and one totaled for the hospital. Of course there is the episode of Alvin York and his eight, but there is some dispute about that tale. (If you read it over very carefully you will see what I mean.) Be that as it may, I see no real need for a double column magazine. It is all the rage, of course, and like dual air bags, it is a popular current sales gimmick.

Or, elsewhere:

The 1911 pistol remains the service pistol of choice in the eyes of those who understand the problem. Back when we audited the FBI academy in 1947, I was told that I ought not to use my pistol in their training program because it was not fair. Maybe the first thing one should demand of his sidearm is that it be unfair.

These days, there may be cases where bigger magazines make a bigger difference — Col. Cooper was able to favor the more elegant weapons of a more civilized age — but how often, in real life, do police need to change magazines in action?

And if you don’t own his Principles of Personal Defense, well — why don’t you? I also recommend his To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth.

UPDATE: Much discussion in the comments, as you might expect. And a Glock enthusiast of the first order emails:

The author I have heard of, and I am puzzled by his opinion. He should know better. There have been “accidental” discharges w/all manner of weapons, from the 1911 to cannons. We now use the term “negligent”, as people should know better. His examples could have happened with a double action revolver-indeed, have.

The solution, whether nukes or crossbows, is instruction, training and practice.

Regarding Col. Cooper, he was a great man; I read everything I could from him and still review “Principles” occasionally. But he had his favorites, one the 1911. Near the end of his life, he wrote the GLOCK was a “gun for the masses”. So even he recognized its qualities, even if he did not approve of its “pedestrian” nature.

The Garland officer, by reports forwarded to me, used a GLOCK Model 21 in .45 Auto to terminate the terrorists. It’s reported he reloaded as he advanced on the terrorist pair.

Cooper would say: “Well done.”

I have a .45 Glock model 21sf. It’s an excellent handgun. I shot it in the Glock shooting competition last year, where my shooting was accounted “not bad, for a law professor.”

InstaPundit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.