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Old 03-10-2013, 12:00   #22
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Wellfleet MA
Posts: 3,666
You guys might find this interesting. It's from a book I just wrote (Practical Handgun Training). It's how the issuing of an untested piece of equipment can cause unintended problems!


One example of the consequences of an error stands out in my mind. For a period of time department members were authorized to wear black leather jackets. Although the department members liked the jacket, the political hierarchy of the department was concerned over image and decided a more benign look was appropriate. Thus a modern, blue nylon insulated jacket was procured and put out on the street. What could possibly go wrong with that?

During this period reports started to come in from officers in the field indicating they were finding their revolvers (yes, it was a long time ago…) cocked in their holsters. Understand, during this time in the department's history, officers wore a very old holster design which had an open top, their revolvers being kept in place by an internal leather piece pushed aside by the shooters’ thumb as they withdrew the handgun. Remarkably, few if any revolvers were snatched from our officers possession when this holster was in use.

Ranking members of the department, safe behind their bullet-proof desks and seeing these reports of cocked handguns in holsters come in, dismissed them as somehow being the fault of the patrol officers nervously toying with their revolvers hammers. But the reports continued, and increased, from all parts of the city. Something was going on.

Well, the jackets had been put out without any prior testing (issuing articles of clothing were the responsibility of the Equipment Section, not the FTS!). It turned out that the zipper tabs on the new jackets had a large hole in them. From time to time a tab would find itself atop the open holsters the officers wore and, on occasion, the hole in the tab would permit the hammer spur to enter and catch. When the officer jerked on his jacket, their revolver’s hammer would sometimes become cocked!

The fix was to order thirty plus thousand little plastic snaps to go through the holes in the zipper tabs and make sure newly ordered jackets had modified zippers. The point of this story is, there was a reason the FTS found the thorough testing of equipment prior to general issue to be so important. And why, as a firearms user or instructor, you should not be overly quick to adopt some newly introduced firearm or piece of equipment until such time as you can be assured that all the kinks have been worked out!
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