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FINGER ON THE TRIGGER
People constantly violate this rule. Here is a video
to serve as a graphic example of why you must keep your
finger off the trigger unless you intend to fire the gun.
It's a bloody miracle no one was hurt or killed here.
Click here to see the video:
DEA Agent Shoots Self in the Foot. Sheez...
Click here to see the video:
Another story regarding finger on the trigger.
Personal note: It doesn't matter how long you've been a cop,
or how long you've handled guns. If you put your finger on
the trigger and shoot yourself and die, your still dead.
Cop shoots self:
Many can learn from one fatal mistake
Robert Ramos made a fatal mistake. As good a cop as he was, the 52-year-old
veteran officer died last month when his gun accidentally discharged as Ramos
was dressing for work.
Santa Maria Police Chief Dan Macagni doesn't want another good cop to die. The
tragic error that took Ramos' life must never happen again.
"Bob had many years on the SWAT team. On the tactical team. Had 23 years as a
police officer. But when he was holstering his weapon, Bob made the mistake of
having his finger on the trigger. He did this on a regular basis," Macagni said
last week. "Even when we train, we tell (officers) don't do that.
"He made a mistake, he did, and went to holster his weapon and slightly missed the
holster opening, hit it on top of his belt line and pulled the trigger.
"It was a mistake, a very serious mistake, and one that we all have to live with and
learn from," Macagni said. "We do have to learn from this and we have to train because
of this not to make these mistakes. We as police officers can never become complacent."
Keeping a finger on the trigger had long been general practice, Macagni said. "Our
tactical team has been in existence since 1986," Macagni said. "Early on in our
tactical training, we were trained to keep it in the trigger guard ... the finger,
in the trigger guard in a ready position ... on the trigger."
As new methods of training evolved, that practice changed, Macagni said.
The new method of training involves keeping the finger outside the trigger and
along the frame guard, Macagni said. That is done for safety purposes, he said,
in case the officer stumbles, falls or bumps into an object. With the finger off
the trigger, an accidental discharge is prevented, Macagni said.
"Our SWAT team specifically trains now - and Bob's been off the SWAT team for
several years - specifically trains always, including our machine guns, to keep
your finger outside the trigger guard," Macagni said.
Although Ramos was alone when the accident happened, Macagni said that experts
who tested the officer's gun found that it could not have malfunctioned. Details
of the autopsy report that's completed, but not yet in Macagni's possession,
support the theory of how Ramos died as well.
Macagni also said he feels confident about the conclusion because of "personal
knowledge of knowing that that's how (Ramos) carried his weapon, how he handled
his weapon and in tactical situations how he operated."
During a previous interview a few days earlier, Macagni stood quietly by his
desk at police headquarters to demonstrate what he believes happened in the
early morning hours of Oct. 9.
Removing the semi-automatic handgun from his holster, Macagni released the
clip and laid it on the table. Macagni then carefully ejected the live round
from the chamber. Double-checking to make sure the weapon was empty, Macagni
showed how Ramos had routinely shoved his gun into the holster. Ramos wore an
"open-ended Border Patrol" holster high on his hip, Macagni said.
The angle of the holster, the force Ramos used to holster the gun securely
and his finger on the trigger created an accident waiting to happen.
"He always holstered hard and fast," Macagni said. "He was a Marine and he
was very deliberate in his movement. He always did it the same way. I saw
him do it a hundred times. It should never have happened," Macagni said.
"It did. And we're all having to live with that."
Ramos also had not engaged the safety mechanism on his 9 mm semi-automatic
Baretta 92 FS, according to Macagni.
"On that particular gun, you could drop it down (and) even if you did pull
the trigger it would not activate the hammer mechanism. But if you leave it
up in the ready position and pull the trigger, it's going to go off. And
that's the way he always carried his weapon."
Macagni said that most police officers, including himself, do not utilize the
safety for tactical reasons. "When you draw, the weapon's ready to fire," he
said. "If you want to be super safe, you don't carry a round in the chamber."
Ramos carried a round in the chamber - standard for police.
"Nobody that I know of in law enforcement or in my department would carry an
empty chamber. That would make no sense and could get you killed," Macagni said.
Ramos got killed anyway. An old-school habit helped create a dangerous routine.
The training improvement seems so simple. "It does," Macagni said. "And that's
why it's so tragic ... I think about it every day. I think about it every time
I holster my weapon, every time I draw my weapon, every time I train with my
weapon. And I know the men and women that are doing the same thing are thinking
the same thing: We lost one of our good friends because of a tragic mistake."
Nov. 16, 2003