Flashlight on Plano cop's gun likely to figure in lawsuit

This is a discussion on Flashlight on Plano cop's gun likely to figure in lawsuit within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; This is an interesting story, Im curious to see how it will play out in court as I can see both sides, although I still ...

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Thread: Flashlight on Plano cop's gun likely to figure in lawsuit

  1. #16
    Member Array javahawk's Avatar
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    This is an interesting story, Im curious to see how it will play out in court as I can see both sides, although I still place 99% of the blame on the person behind the trigger.

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  3. #17
    Senior Member Array dsee11789's Avatar
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    That little pressure switched wouldn't be activated with the trigger finger anyway. It would be activated by the middle finger.

    Can't blame the flashlight for this. 100% operator error.
    Exodus 22:2 "If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed"

  4. #18
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    This topic is being hotly discussed on several of the police and tactical forums.

    It seems prior to this he had a WML with a pressure pad attached to the grip and the department made the choice to switch models, whether the extended lever was part of the switch I do not know. As has already been stated the lever was not designed to be activated by the trigger finger. The trigger finger has one function and one function only.
    This is a personal and departmental training issue. He should have trained with the new system before using it and the department should have offered and supervised the training before it hit the streets, which they may have done I have not seen or heard either way.

    I have said this before. Just because you own a guitar does not make you a musician, wearing a badge and a gun does not make you a good shooter or gun guru either. Many cops just like any other profession consider it a job with benefits and a paycheck nothing more. Some carry a gun because they have to not because they want to. They go to the mandated qualification shoot, clean their weapon and don't train or shoot until next time they have to. Many will go through their careers with no further training other than what is mandated by the department to attend. They will not spend their own money on training and you can't force them to.
    It is just like many airline pilots. They do not fly a 737 for the joy of flying it is a job that they had training for and it pays the bills, there real passion my be golf but they are not good enough to make it pro. They to will take mandated training for upgrades if they have to but many will stick with one model aircraft they are familiar with just to get by.

    Are these situations wrong? You bet an accident waiting to happen. I have seen it over and over gear is blamed for the persons stupid stunt or individual lack of responsibility and motivation to get the training or practice the training received. Make no mistake I am not defending this guys actions merely the situation. He screwed up badly and it will cost him dearly. He may be a hell of a cop and can contribute much to his department and his city but he screwed the pooch on this one.
    This is not the lights fault or a bad design. It sat there waiting to be turned on by depressing the lever with the middle finger as intended.
    The gun did nothing wrong it did as was intended you pull the trigger it goes bang.
    The round did as it was supposed to it struck the subject causing a fatal wound.

    This situation will and should be used as a tool to make sure it does not happen again. Surefire will stand by their product as with the firearm manufacture. The department and the individual will be held responsible and will pay the price. I hope it does turn out that simply money is paid and both the officer and department continue on in life. I say this because if not then it will turn into a circus and we will lose a good product and it will lead to 27 more rules, regulations and restrictions that further tie the hands of LE.
    "A first rate man with a third rate gun is far better than the other way around". The gun is a tool, you are the craftsman that makes it work. There are those who say "if I had to do it, I could" yet they never go out and train to do it. Don't let stupid be your mindset. Harryball 2013

  5. #19
    Distinguished Member Array alachner's Avatar
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    The design of the Surefire flashlight and the pressure pad is solid. The problem is that the LEO had poor trigger finger discipline.
    "If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. That's ridiculous... If I have a gun, what in the hell do I have to be paranoid for?" [Clint Smith - Thunder Ranch]

  6. #20
    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alachner View Post
    The design of the Surefire flashlight and the pressure pad is solid. The problem is that the LEO had poor trigger finger discipline.
    Correct. There is a minor muscular reflex that when you squeeze or pull one finger, the others want to draw in too. This is a natural tendancy that can and does pull a lot of people off target when they shoot. That is one of the elements that we are dealing with (trying to unlearn) when we practice and train our shooting skills. Granted, it is not of the 6 to 10 pound variety, but given stress and distractions applying pressure with one finger can result in such a mistake occurring. All of that said, it is the individual's fault. Whether it be through a poor choice of accessories, poor practice, poor control, or a combination of them all. He had the weapon in his hand and he had it pointed at a person. His responsibility solely.
    Know Guns, Know Safety, Know Peace.
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  7. #21
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    Bugdude you are right on target. A sympathetic reflex can occur in a number of ways.

    In this situation he was in his mind attempting to activate the light and his finger was on the trigger, bad tactics and training either way.
    "A first rate man with a third rate gun is far better than the other way around". The gun is a tool, you are the craftsman that makes it work. There are those who say "if I had to do it, I could" yet they never go out and train to do it. Don't let stupid be your mindset. Harryball 2013

  8. #22
    Distinguished Member Array alachner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BugDude View Post
    Correct. There is a minor muscular reflex that when you squeeze or pull one finger, the others want to draw in too. This is a natural tendancy that can and does pull a lot of people off target when they shoot. That is one of the elements that we are dealing with (trying to unlearn) when we practice and train our shooting skills. Granted, it is not of the 6 to 10 pound variety, but given stress and distractions applying pressure with one finger can result in such a mistake occurring. All of that said, it is the individual's fault. Whether it be through a poor choice of accessories, poor practice, poor control, or a combination of them all. He had the weapon in his hand and he had it pointed at a person. His responsibility solely.
    Completely agree! If you have your finger on the trigger and you try to squeeze your other four fingers to activate the pressure switch for the light, the trigger finger will also tend to squeeze. Therefore, the mistake was to have a finger on the trigger if he wasn't ready to fire. Too bad for the guy, but I guess he should have known better if he is a law enforcement officer.
    "If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. That's ridiculous... If I have a gun, what in the hell do I have to be paranoid for?" [Clint Smith - Thunder Ranch]

  9. #23
    Senior Member Array Chevy-SS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alachner View Post
    The design of the Surefire flashlight and the pressure pad is solid. The problem is that the LEO had poor trigger finger discipline.
    I disagree completely. I think it's a horrible design. It's an accident waiting to happen, and it did happen in Plano. I gotta believe it will continue to happen. More people will get shot because of this setup.

    I have no problem with a cop pointing a flashlight at me. But I have a HUGE problem if he has to point his gun right at me because the light is attached.

    On a tactical long gun, where the support hand activates the light - that seems relatively safe. But this setup on a handgun where the middle finger (a major support finger) activates the pressure pad is incredibly dangerous and should not be allowed IMHO.

    -
    'Be careful, even in small matters' - Miyamoto Musashi

  10. #24
    Senior Member Array dsee11789's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chevy-SS View Post
    I disagree completely. I think it's a horrible design. It's an accident waiting to happen, and it did happen in Plano. I gotta believe it will continue to happen. More people will get shot because of this setup.

    I have no problem with a cop pointing a flashlight at me. But I have a HUGE problem if he has to point his gun right at me because the light is attached.

    On a tactical long gun, where the support hand activates the light - that seems relatively safe. But this setup on a handgun where the middle finger (a major support finger) activates the pressure pad is incredibly dangerous and should not be allowed IMHO.

    -

    I've never used one of these before but it seems as if your just supposed to tighten your grip to activate. Just like the Crimson Trace models only their button is on the back, but it still requires the same type of grip pressure squeeze. I can't imagine you needing very much pressure at all.

    I agree I would not be very fond of a cop pointing his gun at me simply so he can illuminate me.


    But also I don't put myself in situations where a narcotics officer would need to illuminate me.


    Also I am unaware so someone please jump in.... Are Officers trained to leave their finger indexed along the frame or place their finger on the trigger, when in such a situation as this.
    Exodus 22:2 "If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed"

  11. #25
    Senior Member Array Chevy-SS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsee11789 View Post
    ...But also I don't put myself in situations where a narcotics officer would need to illuminate me......
    Heck, you don't need to put yourself in any special situations. What if it's a bust at your neighbors house? Then a LEO lights you up to check you out and shoots you by mistake. It's not possible to completely avoid these potential situations.

    Very poor pressure-switch design and location.

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    'Be careful, even in small matters' - Miyamoto Musashi

  12. #26
    Senior Member Array dsee11789's Avatar
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    The paddles are definitely the best location for the switch because it MAKES you extend your trigger finger. But I still say the pressure switch isn't at fault. It was human error.

    The stippling on the gun looks pretty rough. In combination with his job, leads me to believe he was wearing gloves, which would reduce his dexterity. He probably didn't think he moved his trigger finger very much when in reality he moved it enough to pull the trigger.
    Exodus 22:2 "If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed"

  13. #27
    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    Personally I have a problem with using a firearm as a flashlight. To many bad things can happen.

    Michael

  14. #28
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    After trying various methods of manipulating the weapon mounted light I concluded that the safest way to do so, for me, is to use my support hand thumb to activate the light while keeping the tip of my trigger finger pressed in to the frame.

    The pressing of the trigger finger reduces the chance of a sympathetic action, and causing a negligent discharge. The trigger finger has one job, and only one job. That is to manipulate the trigger when I desire to send a bullet downrange.

    Biker

  15. #29
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Devils Advocate:

    Lets say that the human interface design of this _non-standard OPTIONAL accessory_ is flawed as implied by those in this thread, and the officer.
    Then well is it not fair to say that it's on the individual user/operator (the officer in this case) to evaluate this products human interface method as PRIOR to deploying it on the job toward fielding and real time combat use?
    Considering to do so is very much the norm for every and any other product that a LEO makes use of and might deploy in the field (see the NTOA as an example).

    If it is fair to say this then AND the officer as he claims knew the human interface was poor; How exactly is this not the individual officers issue and at that active fault?
    If it is not fair to say this; How exactly then is this the fault of SureFire when it is on the individual user/operator to actively choose to purchase and install this again established as fact _non-standard OPTIONAL accessory_ for specific use in the field? It's not like the product comes with this unit installed as it's base design.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

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  16. #30
    Distinguished Member Array alachner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chevy-SS View Post
    I disagree completely. I think it's a horrible design. It's an accident waiting to happen, and it did happen in Plano. I gotta believe it will continue to happen. More people will get shot because of this setup.

    I have no problem with a cop pointing a flashlight at me. But I have a HUGE problem if he has to point his gun right at me because the light is attached.

    On a tactical long gun, where the support hand activates the light - that seems relatively safe. But this setup on a handgun where the middle finger (a major support finger) activates the pressure pad is incredibly dangerous and should not be allowed IMHO.

    -
    If he had his trigger finger outside of the trigger...there would've been no accident. That's just like a Glock pistol, the safety is your finger and your trigger finger discipline. Besides, most law enforcement officers have a flashlight in their weapon and one on their belt so I don't see how one would have to use a gun like a flashlight. This accident is 100% human error and not due to the Surefire design. We would already have lots of accidents with Crimson Trace Laser Grips and such that use pressure pads.

    Who pulled the trigger? Surefire or the LEO? Simple as that.
    "If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. That's ridiculous... If I have a gun, what in the hell do I have to be paranoid for?" [Clint Smith - Thunder Ranch]

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