Perhaps the following situation will help explain both my position and the need to carefully evaluate the needs and abilities of those people receiving the training.
The Firearms and Tactics Section became embroiled in a “dispute” with the department's Emergency Services Unit (sort of our SWAT team, but those guys did lots more than a “normal” SWAT unit). This was during the mid-1980s. Our commanding officer, a great guy named Frank McGee (I learned a heck of a lot from Frank), was also pretty ridged. The ESU guys wanted to go to 9mm pistols. Frank was against it. His reasoning was, if the line officers saw that the ESU guys had “special” handguns, they’d feel their sidearms were inferior (at the time the primary handgun used was the S&W model 10).
The ESU guy heading up the charge for 9mms was Dominic. Nice guy, he wasn’t a professional firearms instructor but rather an intensely interested hobbyist. ESU eventually won the fight and they got to carry Beretta 92s (with FMJ rounds. No, I won’t get into a discussion on that here!).
Dominic came under the spell of the Beretta salesman. The department was using a submachine gun at the time we purchased from S&W, their model 76. Looked sort of like a Karl Gustaf. A good, reliable, simple to operate piece of machinery.
Dominic was sold on the Beretta model 12. Much sexier looking than the S&W 76.
ESU buys some. Not long after they start having a problem with unintentional discharges. Never had a problem before with their S&W sub-guns. What happened? Well, the Beretta 12 had the same ergonomic flaw the HK P7 series had; you had to depress a mechanism on the front of the grip (a safety with the Beretta) prior to discharging the piece. When you compress (bring rearward) your hand’s fingers there is a natural tendency for ALL the fingers to come back. If your finger happened to be on the trigger at the time, the gun would go off.
Yes, you can rail about all those dopes had to do was to learn to keep their fingers off the trigger until they were on target. Swell. When dealing with thousands of people being trained you must train to the weakest link. And the weakest link was having accidental discharges!
The Beretta 12s were pulled and S&W 76 went back into the ESU trucks. Eventually the department went to the HK MP5.
Who the hell is Balko?