LEOs And Their Guns

This is a discussion on LEOs And Their Guns within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I have seen it posted many places that it is a problem that LEO look at guns as another tool on their belt. I partially ...

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Thread: LEOs And Their Guns

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    Member Array snip's Avatar
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    LEOs And Their Guns

    I have seen it posted many places that it is a problem that LEO look at guns as another tool on their belt.
    I partially agree with it and partially don't.

    My question to you guys mean when you say that. Why is it a problem that they look at it as just another tool and not something else and why is it a good thing that they look at it as something else?

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    Senior Member Array Rmac58's Avatar
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    I have a relative, retired LEO, that mentioned the tool thing. Just part of the job I guess, having to carry it around may get old.

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    Member Array nuparadigm's Avatar
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    The issued weapon(s) are "just another tool" in the respect that there are numerous ways in which a LEO should have in order to solve a problem. Deadly force solutions are the last resort. This is true not just for the moral implications of the use of deadly force, but for the legal ones as well.
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    Its bad when the LEO in question doesn't maintain high proficiency or maintenance on his firearm. Many LEO don't keep up with cleaning or shooting/ handling skills more than 6 month or yearly quals. at the range.
    This leads to poor skills shooting and sometimes non functioning weapons. This is no way just LEO's who are guilty , I'm sure alot of CCW holders qualify , then never practice shooting either.
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    VIP Member Array NY27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocky View Post
    Its bad when the LEO in question doesn't maintain high proficiency or maintenance on his firearm. Many LEO don't keep up with cleaning or shooting/ handling skills more than 6 month or yearly quals. at the range.
    This leads to poor skills shooting and sometimes non functioning weapons. This is no way just LEO's who are guilty , I'm sure alot of CCW holders qualify , then never practice shooting either.
    Agreed. Most of the guys on my job don't even carry their weapons off-duty let alone shoot them frequently enough. I'm a firearms instructor with my agency and have convinced a few of my guys that it is in their best interest to carry off-duty.

    Our Cheif is more concerned with training than his predecessors, so the riflemen may start training quarterly. Hopefully that will spread to the rest of the dept.
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    Guns as "tools" really isn't a new concept. Back in the founding day of the country this was even more the case, especially in the Western parts (Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina) of the country. But sort of like today, big city folks were against them.
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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snip View Post
    I have seen it posted many places that it is a problem that LEO look at guns as another tool on their belt.
    I partially agree with it and partially don't.

    My question to you guys mean when you say that. Why is it a problem that they look at it as just another tool and not something else and why is it a good thing that they look at it as something else?
    You know.....I've never thought like that around any of the local law enforcement in my neck of the woods. I actually think the majority of them carry something other than department issue which I figure to be Glocks. I've seen many high end custom 1911's on the hips of detectives in one large city, and several SIGs in the nearby smaller city along with the ever popular Glocks. You might say that I notice the personal preference of these officers carrying something different from the norm, and there may be several factors involved as to why. The bottom line I'm getting at here is that if some of these officers carry something different than the majority of their department, that means to me that they look at their pistol of choice as something more than just a tool.

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    My question to you guys mean when you say that. Why is it a problem that they look at it as just another tool and not something else and why is it a good thing that they look at it as something else?
    They look at it as a tool because that it exactly what it is...a tool.
    An LEO has various tool for various situations, and picking the right tool for the job is very important.

    Just as a Carpenter would not use a screwdriver in place of a chisel, or a chisel in place of a screwdriver, an LEO must pick the right tool.

    Like any other tool, the LEO must be proficient with it. If not, it can seriously complicate things.

    With most LEO's a gun that is carried daily is of little use in the performance of their duty's. There are so many other things that they do that the gun does not play a factor in. The difference is when the gun does play a factor, it is a major one that can result in life or death.

    The negative aspect of looking at the gun as a tool, is that many LEO's,knowing that it gets used so little in their daily experiences is that they tend to think of it as not being important enough to practice with and maintain some skill with. These are the guys that you see struggling to qualify on the range when their annual or semi annual quals come up. They just don't see it as being something they need to spend time on.

    Is it right to think that way? I think not. When and if you have to use it, you wont have time to think about it, it had better be done correctly or you could be hurt or seriously maimed. The last thing you need to be thinking of is how it works, where it shoots, clearing the holster and everything else that takes place when you have to draw and fire, or not fire.

    You will always see the cops that fire many thousands of round a year and there will always be those that only shoot the 50 or 100 rounds a year, just enough to satisfy the requirement. Thats the way its always been and that the way it will probably always be.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    ...great post...
    +1

    But to add: It's also a potential problem if a LEO focuses on a firearm to the exclusion of the other skills (social and physical), techniques, and procedures which keep others and the LEO himself/herself alive and effective on a daily basis...

    Those who see professionalism in proficiency, in general, will tend to keep all their skills sharp. Those who don't, won't. There are exceptions to this generalization, of course...

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    I think what people mean when they say "tool" isn't so much as a firearm as a literal tool, but that those officers who one talks about that way view a firearm as something that they only carry on duty and nothing more. These are the same LEOs who choose to not carry off duty, not care about any additional training beyond basic qualifications, and do not share our interest in firearms. For them, it's just another tool on their belt - see the different meaning here?

    So there seem to be two meanings to "just another tool." One good, one bad.

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    It is just another tool right along with the ASP, straight stick, OC spray, taser, handcuffs, PPCT, soft hand, etc. If a carpenter only knows how to swing a hammer then he's not going to be much of a carpenter. If an electrician only knows how to read a volt meter then he's no good as an electrician.
    Non-LEOs fixate on LEOs carrying firearms. There's a whole lot more to defensive tactics than the firearm. As nuparadigm wrote if the situation gets to where deadly force is the only option left then you've most likely gone thru all the other tools. Non-LEOs don't realize just how often the other tools are used. The old saying is if you only know how to use a hammer then you think every problem looks like a nail. The hammer only doesn't give you any options.
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    I think part of it may be a bit of an expectation that people have that cops are gun people. They see it as a very conspicuous part of the uniform, and Hollywood keeps drilling the "gun and the badge" thing into people's minds.

    I probably shoot more than 90% of the officers on my old department. I have taken a few "problem children" out and helped them settle down so they could qualify when they were having some issues. Some officers would not even put their shotguns in their rack unless I was doing a ride along with them. They would keep them in their locker at the station and only bring them out to qualify. It is not that I am something special, I am just a "gun person" and they decidedly are not. Some of them were not really trained all that well when they came on decades ago. The shotgun beat them up, so they locked it up.

    A lot of the newer officers had never handled a weapon until the academy. For them qualification with the weapon is much like being certified on the intoxalyzer or traffic laser. It is a tool of the job they do, much like a mechanic has an impact gun and a drawer full of sockets. For them the job is just that, their job. It is not the life for some of them that it seems to be for officers that say got hired when they got back from Vietnam. For some it is not what they always wanted to do when they grew up. It is a steady check, job security and a pretty darned good benefits package.
    For some it is forty or so hours a week and then they want nothing related to the job to intrude on "their time". One officer I know does construction on the side. She doesn't live in the county, and does not have a take home cruiser,so she is not required to carry off duty. She does not carry her pistol while on the construction sites just like she doesn't keep a Makita saw in her cruiser.
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    Until my guns started talking to me or buying me lunch, they are just a tool. Nothing more, nothing less.
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    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    Most of my co-workers aren't in to guns, but come to me to help them qualify.

    I was in to guns before I got in to L.E.. In fact, I'd had my first "armed encounter" before I got in to law enforcement. I had my second one while on the job. My third was after I had quit L.E..

    I'm now back in L.E., and I'm more prepared for an encounter off duty than on duty, because of agency policies. I seek additional training, but I did that prior to going in to L.E.. I've liked shooting since I was a button, so why should I stop now? I'm happy that somebody else gets to pay for some of the bullets I shoot. I just wish they paid for more of them.

    I will shoot on an "average" month what my agency lets me shoot in a year, if I have to "Re-Qual". The only thing I can say is, it's a good tax deduction. I was fortunate that my first agency, state, gave really good training, because federal training is crappy IMHO.

    Guns are just a part of the job, not all of the job. The only difference is, when you need a gun, nothing else will sufice. Since guns are a "last ditch" device, for lack of better wording, it makes sense to me to be prepared for a "worst case scenario". I learned a long time ago that if I prepare for the worst, I can handle the "not as bad as that" scenario easier.

    OK, I'm tired, it's late and I need some sleep because I don't feel like I'm making much sense. Take care and stay safe.

    Biker

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    Member Array snip's Avatar
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    Ok thanks for the responses. It seams that in this forum whenever people are using the phrase "just another tool on their belt" in a negative sense (the predominant method of using this phrase in this forum as i have seen) just means that people think that the LEOs are not getting enough training or practice time with their gun.

    But at the same time it still is just another tool that they have to deal with a situation.

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