NY DCJS Recruit Firearms Program Safety Concerns
If you are a Police Officer, Police Firearms Instructor or Police Administrator in New York State, you may have heard of the new recruit firearms training program. If you have not, let me give you a few highlights: They have added things like "Carry positions" - specifically "temple Index" (pictured above), "holster index" - moving around with your unholstered pistol next to your holster, but with the thumb of the firing hand anchored inside the holster. There are things like "VCQB" - Vehicle Close Quarters Battle. Suggestions to change firing commands or shot timers to "visual stimulus" such as laser pointers & renaming decades old terms such as "tap/rack", "stove pipe/double feed", "tactical reload" & "FBI/Modified FBI flashlight technique". There are concepts like holding a tennis ball in one hand that simulates a hand that was shot or stabbed & pressing that "injured" hand into the hand holding the pistol to support it during firing. While all of this may look edgy or cool on a social media post that spikes your dopamine, in the real world & in a training environment, there are issues.
Lets start with temple index. I am aware of at least 1 publicly acknowledged negligent discharge on a range with temple index. The student was an experienced police officer and shooter, who attended a class put on by CTT Solutions. An explanation of the incident by the owner of CTT Solutions & his take on Temple Index can be watched here: https://www.instagram.com/reel/CpRD5pJg4wM/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y%3D The term "context" is used a lot by those attempting to justify it. That it is for certain situations such as fighting in & around vehicles. But in lesson 9, there is a timed movement & shooting drill, where temple index is a suggested carry position for the movement drill. There is also a caveat that if instructors don't feel its safe, the movement piece can be done holstered. If it is such a safe technique, why is there a caveat? The reality is that people who learn temple index, tend to use it all the time. One suggestion I have seen, by the creator of this technique, in regards to why you would use it, is that you are the driver in a car and you and your partner are ambushed. This hypothetical ambush takes place on the passenger side of the car and you want to return fire without flagging your partner. It is suggested that you simply draw, go to temple index, turn to the right and now present your pistol behind the front passengers seat headrest and engage. There are several problems with that. For one, the prisoner cage, patrol rifle & less lethal shotgun would all provide obstacles to presenting your pistol. Next is the fact that projectiles and secondary projectiles - such as jackets separating from the core of the projectiles, auto glass, plastic, paint chips, etc will all become airborne in your car. If you have ever seen windshield glass shot with multiple rapid shots, you know that a fine dust like cloud of glass will start to fly into the passenger compartment. Are you wearing eye protection on patrol? Are you & your partner injured? How long will it take you to react to the ambush? Not just the normal human reaction time, but to realize what is going on, where it is coming from and decide an appropriate course of action? This concept briefs well, but practically, if you are not immediately killed or incapacitated, the driver needs to drive out of the kill zone. If the vehicle is immobile, you need to exit the vehicle and get away from it. While we are on this topic, lets talk "stacking pillars". The DCJS program suggests you conform your body to the pillars (see the picture below) and stack them between you & your threat. Lets be realistic here for a second. You have been ambushed, you have an elevated heart rate, you are receiving incoming fire and you are supposed to turn your torso on a 45 degree angle - to match the angle of the A pillar, while lining it up or "stacking it" with the B or C pillar - if the threat is on the other side of the car and inline with the B or C pillars. To say that this is highly unrealistic, would be an understatement. The training time would be better served having a discussion about situational awareness - keeping your head on a swivel and not buried in your phone while on patrol & by honing your accuracy.
Back to temple index. What about the weapon retention side of Temple index or holster index? What if you are bear hugged by a suspect while at temple index? What if your elbow and wrist are grabbed and cranked up and back? Will you tear your rotator cuff or sustain another injury? What if a suspect grabs your elbow and rips the gun out of your hand? What if multiple cops are in a foot pursuit with a suspect & now have to traverse an obstacle or a terrain feature and need to holster first? Will they all turn in 15 different directions? Probably not. They will be flagging the back of each other's heads. With holster index you are weakening your grip on the pistol with zero benefit & increasing the likely hood of dropping your pistol due to the now weakened grip & movement or the weakened grip & bumping that hand into an obstacle. Why not just holster? If you need your gun out, then keep it out & ready. Be muzzle aware, but be realistic. While we don't want to point a weapon at anyone, unless absolutely necessary - let me say that again, While we don't want to point a weapon at anyone, unless absolutely necessary - in the real world, which is a 360 degree environment & not a static controlled range, people will & do get flagged. Probably thousands of people a year are stopped at gunpoint by law enforcement. Some on foot & some during felony car stops. While I am sure it has happened, I have never in 26 years and several different agencies seen an ND occur when a suspect was stopped at gunpoint. Time would be better spent harping on trigger finger discipline & muzzle awareness than unrealistic techniques.
Tennis ball for injured shooter drills
2 problems exist here: 1)It is highly unrealistic to think you are going to take a hand that was shot or stabbed & has broken bones & torn flesh & press it against a pistol to stabilize it. Do you realize the pain that would cause? Especially as the gun recoils! 2) Having new shooters pressing a tennis ball into their pistol is asking for someone to drop their gun or have an ND with zero benefit at all
Laser pointers & renaming decades old skills Suggesting that you need to "change up the stimulus" that causes officers to initiate a shooting drill is flawed. To force "visual stimulus" to start a drill because in real life we engage off of mostly visual stimulus doesn't tell the whole story. I was personally involved in a line of duty shooting & didn't stand around thinking "I really wish someone would hit the shot timer or give an up command right now". I witnessed another line of duty shooting occur just feet from me - that officer didn't yell to me "Hey can you hit the shot timer?". But.. but, neurobiology says... You can read all the books you want about shooting & science. At the end of the day, reality does not always line up with your scripted narrative. Shot timers are metrics used for measure performance on a given standard - not to condition you too shoot. It As far as renaming flashlight & manipulation techniques to "mush malfunction", "click malfunction", "finger space reload" & "wanding" to name a few - Why? To say we changed something? What about the confusion in commands from the decades old terms to modern. It serves no useful purpose. IN CLOSING I encourage everyone of you who are concerned about the safety & wasted training time of the new curriculum, to reach out to the following individuals at NY State DCJS at the email & phone numbers below. There is still time to make your voices heard and put a stop to this curriculum, as this doesn't take full effect until September of 2024. Molly Bates Molly.Bates@DCJS.ny.gov AND Mike Puckett firstname.lastname@example.org (518) 457-4917