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Ding... Thanks for playin
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Ralph Mroz
2008 Jan 1
Law Officer Magazine Volume 4 Issue 1
Check the Chamber
  • Ralph Mroz
  • Law Officer Magazine Volume 4 Issue 1
  • 2008 Jan 1
If you’ve been on the job for any time, you probably know someone who’s been out on duty and discovered their gun wasn’t loaded. Maybe it’s even happened to you. A former chief of mine was man enough to reveal it happened to him one night when he was called out while off-duty.
Stuff happens. That’s why we devise compensatory habits. In this case, you should know how to slightly retract your pistol’s slide so you can see brass in the chamber. New pistols make it easier with mechanisms that allow you to check without manipulating the slide. Habitually check the chamber every time you pick up a gun that’s been out of your control. These instances include taking the gun out of a safe, putting it on after a night’s sleep, or any other time the gun’s been out of your direct control—even if it's just a few minutes and you’re sure no one messed with it.
I also drop the magazine to ensure it’s loaded, and after replacing it, I give it a good whack to make sure it’s seated. Of course, you should also check the chamber to ensure it’s empty for training drills, etc.
Note: Like anything, chamber checks can be overdone. Go to any shooting range, and you’ll see shooters conducting checks almost every time they unholster their gun. There’s no harm doing so on the range or in a match, but we should train for the way we’ll have to fight. Habitually checking the chamber when the gun hasn’t been out of your control is not only unnecessary, it’s dangerous.
As George Harris, director of the Sig Sauer Academy, emphasizes, you should already know the state of any weapon in your control. Rob Pincus, training director at the Valhalla Training Center, points out that the middle of a fight is no time for a chamber check. Yet he sees this habit all the time when he runs students through force-on-force training. Remember: Under stress we automatically act as we’ve trained.
Ralph Mroz is the co-founder and training director of the Police Officers Safety Association. For free force-training videos, visit .

Rotating Ammo
Give your magazine springs a break now and again by rotating the magazines and ammo. (Photo Tim Dees) Rotating Ammo
Avoid feeding failures

  • Anonymous
  • 2008 May 14
An officer should have enough magazines on hand to rotate ammo on a one or two week basis to give the springs in the magazine a rest break. Failure to do so will result in feeding failures. I found this out the hard way at the range, thankfully not on the street.
When the magazine springs for your firearms give up the ghost, don't throw that magazine away.
Brownells sells replacement magazine springs and keeps your costs down for maintaining your firearm. I have six magazines of different makes for my duty handgun. I discovered that all six were very different in the springs. Six new high power springs from Brownells made all 6 magazines equal. There are many other reputable gun accessory vendors that can supply these and other items to keep you ready for the street. See our Buyer's Guide for a directory.

Move Closer to the Target

It's easy to integrate target strikes with shooting on the range. Having the striking hand grab the target is a safe way to start. (Photo Ralph Mroz)
Safety Tip

Move Closer to the Target

Yes, closer. Why? Because most gunfights occur at pretty close distances, maybe 10 feet apart. The skills needed at this range are probably the least practiced, unfortunately.
Training at these distances is very different from training at more traditional distances. You must keep the gun in close to your body, you should combine the draw stroke with strikes to the target and you should probably move in on the target.
If you practice these extreme close-quarter skills with a live partner (in a FIST suit, naturally) and with Airsoft pistols, you’ll quickly find you also must develop a real sense of physical aggression, good body mechanics, balance and other fighting skills that you may have considered relevant only in unarmed combat. Moving close actually makes things harder.
The Close Quarter Shooting video instructional program from the Police Officers Safety Association runs about an hour, and you can download it free from our site ( ). If you prefer, you can purchase a DVD is available for only $10, and the order form is available on the site, too
Next time you’re practicing on the range, here’s a way to greatly enhance the survival usefulness of that training at no additional cost and with no additional time. Just preceding or simultaneously with the drawstroke, move. Laterally if possible, because lateral movement will likely cause your opponent to miss you. And, move to cover if at all possible. Use another target stand, a car, a barrel, a curb—anything at all.
Especially a curb. Most of us don’t practice enough using small cover to our advantage. But stand, say, 10 feet from a training partner, you near a curb and your partner away. Then lie down behind the curb, and your partner will probably report that they have a clear shot at only about half your body. That curb’s a pretty good odds enhancer.
An acquaintance of mine is a firearms trainer for a sheriff’s office, and he starts every recruit class this way. Starting with the first live round these mostly virgin shooters fire, they move to cover to do so. After the habit is ingrained, if they’re asked to shoot without any available cover on the range, it just doesn’t feel right to them.
Cover of some sort is almost always available in the real world. Moving to it is a good habit to have.

Over the past several years, the number and frequency of force-on-force scenarios run in even the smallest agency have increased quite a bit. Initially constrained to those agencies and units that could afford the pricey SIMUNITIONS conversion kits for real firearms, and the $1 or so per round cost of the projectiles, force-on-force simulations have now become practical for every agency (and even individual officers) with the widespread availability of Airsoft guns. Airsoft guns and projectiles are inexpensive, and since they are non-marking rounds, there’s no requirement for a special training facility. You can train in your real tactical environment and with your real equipment. You can train in your schools, businesses and even the department conference room.
However, one safety consideration often overlooked in force-on-force simulations is that simulated weapons aren’t distinguishable from real weapons. I like to have the safety officers know at a glance if it’s a simulated weapon or a real weapon, whether the weapon is in the hand or in the holster. This is just one link in a chain of safety precautions that ensure that the simulations are run safely.
How can you accomplish this? Simple. Just place a piece of colored tape around the grip and under the dust cover of all simulated weapons (see photo).

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25 Or 6 to 4
8,006 Posts
Yet another case of so called people in charge that don't know why they are doing something just that they heard it somewhere.

The is no rest for a mag spring. Period. The only reason to unload and reload a mag is to change bullet placement and stop the outside of the brass casses from being scored and weakening.

And these are lifers that should no better than parroting dis-info.

I'm the boogey man.......
6,686 Posts
just carry a revolver and don't worry about it.
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