Inspector General Report on M&P Pistols Out

Smith & Wesson M&P9

Earlier this year, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department went to the county’s inspector general with concerns about the upward trend of negligent discharges that were happening withe the agency’s new sidearm: the Smith & Wesson M&P9. Earlier this month, the inspector general released its report.

TFB contributor Aaron E. is a full time cop and trainer, plus writes at BlueSheepdog.com. He breaks down the inspector general’s 59 page report on the LA County Sheriff’s Office negligent discharges into something a little more manageable.

Among the findings:

  • deputies violated basic gun handling safety, specifically, having a finger on the trigger when he or she should not
  • the external safety of the previously issued Beretta was a non-issue as the safeties were disengaged when drawing the gun
  • some negligent discharges happened when trying to activate the remote grip switch for the mounted SureFire light (sympathetic reflex)
  • lack of adequate training time to overcome flawed habits with the Beretta
  • inadequate training with weapon lights (a 30 minute video only)
  • purchasing decision for the SureFire lights was questionable

The inspector general report gave detailed recommendations for additional training to correct the problems. Additionally, the IG made recommendations on improving/correcting the process of acquiring new gear.

The problems with negligent discharges at the sheriff’s office was previously discussed here. Potential problems with NDs and weapon lights was brought up here.

The Force Science Institute previously issued a warning about the remote pressure switches used by SureFire to activate lights on handguns. In the 2011 warning, the institute illustrated several incidents where the switches were at least casually involved with the unintended shooting of unarmed citizens. Further, the warning went on to describe how this may happen under stress.

Take a look at Aaron’s article for additional details on the IG report and the problems with the sheriff’s office.



Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/.


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  • Asdf

    That is the first time I’ve heard of the LAPD being at fault for anything.

    • KestrelBike

      Remember when that stopped blue pickup truck full of newspapers for delivery with two ladies in the cab ambushed those LA cops hunting for Dorner?

      Never had a doubt in the M&P and knew this was down to entrenched negligence in LAPD (lack of) training.

      • Marco Antonio Gonzalez

        And again, it is not the LAPD

        • Alan Feinstein

          LASD,
          tell me what it means too me.

    • This is LASD, not LAPD.

    • jman69

      Did you even read the article or just come to the conclusion that LA County Sherriff’s Department is the Los Angeles City Police Department? Kind of reminds me of when liberals see any semi auto rifle and call it an assault rifle.

  • Kyle

    It sounds like, 1) the rules of safety are being shrugged off by the officers, and 2) you’re a dumb ass (the officer)…seriously, the trigger thought to be the weapon light (find and read previous article)?
    I wont say it wont “ever” happen, but by following all the rules and being mindful, NG’s rarely happen.

  • Brocus

    90% of those handling guns probably shouldn’t given the danger they are to themselves and others.

    • Cleophus

      Brocus is either a troll, or an idiot.

      • Nashvone

        Synonymous…

  • Nicks87

    “a 30 minute video only” for weapon light training? That’s insane. We do an hour of instruction and 100 rnds on the low-light course of fire every year. The lack of training in some of these “high profile” police agencies is appalling.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Insane but not surprising. I have about 1k rounds of low light training under my belt with low light force on force not included. And wouldn’t even begin to consider that acceptable if I was police and this is what I was doing day to day.

    • oldman

      Years ago I met a recently retired Philly police officer (retired less then a week at that point for medical reasons) after talking a while he brought out his service weapon. When he removed it from the holster it had bits of leather from the holster stuck to it and when he opened the cylinder the cartridges were green with corrosion when he tried to eject them the base ripped off. Seems he had never drawn his weapon since the day he qualified at the academy. Things have Improved since the state police took over the training.

    • The Brigadier

      Well it is LA – Progressive City West. Progressives always cut training funds so they can increase social spending. It’s the Progressive Way.

  • Griz

    Ban flashlights! Obviously Surefire is to blame!

  • Oregon213

    Best quote from the report…. describing an example of one negligent discharge:

    “A deputy was inexplicably directing traffic with the weapon-mounted light rather than with a flashlight as trained by the LASD. The deputy discharged one round while doing so. This gun light did not have a grip switch attached.”

    That’s some serious traffic control!

    • Nashvone

      Where did that round end up?

    • Alan Feinstein

      Now that’s enlightenment

  • Vitsaus

    “purchasing decision for the SureFire lights was questionable” I’m sure for the procurement guy that got treated to $100 steak and a night at the Indian Casino by the SureFire rep, it was a great decision.

  • anon

    “hey guys could you look at our guns, i think there’s something wrong with them”
    “ok, well the results are in and they appear to say that there are no issues with the gun. You people are just bad at both training and safety.”

    • Bill

      It’s ALWAYS the gun – just ask 99.999% of the people who’ve had NDs.

  • Lance

    Why its better in the end to allow the individual Officer to pick there sidearm of choice. LAPD finally did that so we see a Beretta/S&W combo on the streets.

  • John

    I look at that and I automatically think the gun would be improved with an Apex trigger.

  • JoeDrager

    I doubt if “having a finger on the trigger when he or she should not ” contributed. Those who had a finger on the trigger of the M&P 9 also did so with the Beretta.

    • JLR84

      The Beretta has a DA/SA (Double-Action/Single-Action) trigger system.

      For the first shot it’s a long and heavy ~12lb double-action trigger press, and subsequent shots are a relatively short and light ~5.5lb single-action trigger press.

      That makes them more forgiving of bad habits like running around with your finger on the trigger. The NYPD had the same problem transitioning from double-action revolvers to Glocks back in the 80’s. Instead of fixing the training problem they procured Glocks with special heavy trigger springs.

  • mgomez

    sad…

    “some negligent discharges happened when trying to activate the remote grip switch for the mounted SureFire light (sympathetic reflex)”

    coupled with

    “deputies violated basic gun handling safety, specifically, having a finger on the trigger when he or she should not”

    is this the DG switch for the surfire series? only one i could imagine. sympathetic reflex means that the above reference for the trigger finger inside the guard…try removing the DG and force them to use the bang finger to activate their light? sometimes you cant have nice things in a big group of people like a sheriff’s office. investigating the gun with a giant dongle hanging off the light. sad and shameful.

  • gunsandrockets

    Aside from lack of training, I also wonder about some police firearm tactics that I think are highly questionable. Number one is the tactic of pointing a firearm at a suspect as a threat in order to compel compliance.

    Why point a firearm at anyone while there is no legal justification in firing? That’s just begging for a tragedy.

    Armed robbers threaten death to compel compliance; police should not ape those tactics.

  • gunsandrockets

    When it comes to safety, humans are more often the weaker link than the machine.

    But it certainly helps if the machine is engineered with attention to human weakness.

  • Broz

    I think the subject line says it all NEGLIGENT discharges…NEGLIGENCE is NOT the fault of the manufacturer…only the operator!!! Only in the land of fruits & nuts!!!

  • Chase Buchanan

    “Interestingly, until 2002 LASD deputies were trained by their department
    “on target, on trigger”. In other words, if the deputy pointed their
    firearm at a subject, their finger was already on the trigger.”

    😮

    • Ken

      There’s a reason gun safety rules exist in the first place. Finger off the trigger and you don’t accidentally shoot someone. It’s as simple as that. SMH.

  • T Rex

    Dejavu all over again. It’s all about poor training and/or bad habits, not the pistol.

    Same old fail to index trigger finger outside trigger guard problem exposed repeatedly over the years when agencies transition from a heavy initial trigger pull sa/da pistol/revolver to a lighter DAO or striker fired pistol.

    The very real issue of sympathetic reaction is something LE trainers became painfully aware of years ago. It’s negligent and unacceptable for any LE agency to still allow duty weapons to be equipped with weapon lights remotely activated from pressure applied by the weapon (strong) hand.

  • JLR84

    So basically the same issue the NYPD had transitioning from double-action revolvers to Glocks. Except in this case it’s the DA trigger of the Beretta that was concealing bad habits.

    So will they fix the training, or use a hardware hack like the infamous NYPD Glock Trigger?

    • The Brigadier

      The obvious answer is to change the light for a different manufacturer’s who puts the remote switch in a different place.

  • Leigh Rich

    Give em Glocks

    • dat bee tru

      and the outcome would be different? btw those firearms are not given they are paid for by Joe Taxpayer

  • Michael B

    Why is that if someone is an LEO or member of the armed forces, it’s automatically assumed by all limousine liberals & sheeple in general, that they are weapons experts? SWAT and upper echelon troops excluded, the most incapable firearm handlers have been line LEOs and garrisoned infantry units.
    Training is key, regardless of who you are.
    The LASD gets more training in radar use & report writing than they do firearm training. Leaving firearm training in a voluntary status, except for annual qualification, results in these types of problems.
    The weight of this issue should fall squarely on the shoulders of the LASD Training Chief.

  • supergun

    What do you expect from those that live in kalfornica?

  • Old Gringo

    Lights on handguns have always been a questionable idea…I live in a rural area and often camp where there are bears and cougars…..and for looking for animals in the dark they are a wonderful idea…but when used by cops ( I have have worked local, state, federal and military law enforcement) they are a dumb tactical idea…they give the bad guy an exact location on you and a precise aiming point…when Glocks first came out, I remember dozens of cops shot themselves in the leg because they where too stupid to use a holster and stuck them in pockets without the trigger area protected….this report puts the blame 100% on the cops for doing stupid stuff….you dont need much training to realize when your finger is in the trigger guard…glad to see someone in authority what I have been teaching for years..duh?

  • Old Gringo

    Guns dont kill people, people kill people……..sorry could not resist……they now need to do a study on people injured while using chainsaws ……..I know a veteran fighter jock now lawyer and an ex-military cop now government executive who both fell off ladders with actice chainsaws…both lived and came away only injured by the falls….but maybe the government should investigate and ban chain saws….or ladders…..

  • Mike11C

    So, the way I read the article, it appears to be problem with “headspace and timing”…, of the operator, not the gun. Also, the department failed to follow the “10% Rule” which states, you need to be at least 10% smarter than the equipment you’re attempting to operate. It could be that their brain pumps just lost their prime.

  • Mikial

    The “increase” in ADs is constantly used by Glock haters and anyone who has an issue with any pistol that doesn’t have an external safety as a reason why modern, striker fired pistols are demon-spawned products of Satan’s plan to destroy mankind. I’m glad the AG determined it was 100% operator error and a failure of the agency to properly train their officers.

    Actual mechanical failure ADs of modern handguns are so rare that they are statistically non-existent. It’s a question of training and skill. No, M&Ps, Glocks, XDs, PPXs, the new Ruger American Pistol, etc. Granted, I will admit striker fired pistols without external safeties are not as idiot proof as guns with external safeties and/or decockers, and they require a higher degree of skill and training to use safely. It’s just too bad we can’t even rely on law enforcement agencies to provide that training to their officers.

    And it’s also too bad that these same agencies, egged on by the Liberal media, try to blame the gun instead of their inadequate training programs. As for me, my EDC is a G21 and that is not likely to change anytime soon.

  • Jim

    Let me get this straight: A deputy directing traffic with his weapon-mounted light? Here is a presumably uniformed officer in the middle of traffic waving a gun around and it goes off? No wonder they have traffic problems out there….I am surprised that some driver didn’t run over his ass! Does LASD conduct IQ tests in their application process?

  • Hensley Beuron Garlington

    I bet they got pissed instead of properly face palming and realizing they needed to train better. Sad to make a huge hill out of something that turned out to be your fault.

    • Mikial

      So true, my friend. So true.