1911Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 105 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
11,450 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The thread about the LE guns stolen in MA drifted into the subject of the practical use of select fire (either burst or full auto) in LE applications.

I found the subject interesting, and worthy of discussion in its own right, rather than a spin-off of another thread.

First, some ground rules with the intention of keeping the conversation civil and focused:

- Don't make this an "Us vs Them" thread; LE vs citizen.
- Lets keep this geared towards the rifle used by the average patrol officer in an urban/suburban environment. Specialized SWAT units or very remote locations (such as Border Patrol) create a different set of variables.
- Articulate the pros and cons of your opinion from a perspective of the practical application of burst/FA fire as it relates to situations faced by LE in the performance of their duties.
- Compare/contrast to use in a military environment.
- Compare/contrast the advantages and disadvantages of burst/FA fire to semi-auto fire.

My opinion, given the above parameters, is that a select fire rifle has no place or practical application as a patro rifle for the average LEO for the following reasons:

o Very little can be accomplihed with select fire in an LE setting that cannot be done as well or better with semi-auto only fires.

o The amount of training/practice time required to effectivly employ automatic fire is much greater than the average LEO is willing or able to put in. Most are only moderatly trained and profficent with their duty pistol. Most LE agencies don't have the training time or budget to maintain profceincy on a select fire rifle. A 3 round burst, fired at a man-sized target from a range of 25 meters will typicaly result in 1 solid hit, and one complete miss... the second round will either be a marginal hit or a miss. In the same amont of time, a controled pair can easily put 2 solid hits on target.

o There is a lack of practical application for the intended role. I cannot recall a single event in the last 40 years where select fire capability or the lack thereof by LE had a significant impact on the outcome of an event. The military uses burst/FA primarily for suppresive fire in an environment where collateral damage is acceptable. In the LE environment, such damage is not acceptable. Additionaly, the LEO can achive a similar effect utilizing rapid, aimed fire into a suitabe backstop if the need arises to keep a BG pinned down.

o There is a huge risk of civil liability. Unlike a military battlefield, the officer/agency, and ultimatley the taxpayer is liable for every round fired.


Thoughts and opinions...?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
249 Posts
I agree with all your above points which raises another question on the same subject:

Isn't the adoption of Select Fire/Full Auto into the LE community more a result of the want/willingness to emulate Military weapons and tactics, as opposed to a true need for Select Fire/Full Auto in the public environment?

A coupe of times a year I see debates on the very subject of incorporating military weapons/tactics, and the overuse of same in the general public environment

Maybe that is a question better left to another thread? Now found here
http://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?p=4779417#post4779417

No attempt to hi-jack, just appears to me as part of the same subject discussion
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
11,450 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Samurai, I do believe that the desire/percived need to emulate the military in regards to equipment is a factor, and relavant to the discussion. More applicable would be the WHY; the reasons LE wish to pattern after the military specificly as it relates to the choice in a patrol rifle. Choice of tactics or general discusion of the miltirazation of LE in recent years is probably best left for another thread.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
536 Posts
I don't see why the police would have a need (not a desire) to emulate military weapons designed for use in situations where a soldier is on the offensive. Police deploy their sidearms (in most every situation) as defensive tools only. Unless they are SWAT, where they may be going on the offensive. But still, their goal is not to shoot, destroy, and kill. It is to take safe control of a situation in order to keep the peace. So having a select-fire or fully automatic weapon seems to go against their primary objective. The police's goal is not to kill, it is (supposed to be) to safely contain a situation so that the least amount of people get hurt. A soldier, on the other hand, who is engaged in combat... his goal is to destroy. One could argue, however, that select-fire weapons allow police in certain situations to safely contain a situation easier, better, faster, safer. I don't really know either way.

The WHY, though? Probably because people are people and we want the coolest, most badass toys. Even cops.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
wccountryboy, I'm an LEO and have been involved in patrol, SWAT, and now investigations. I agree with you completely. In a normal patrol situation, full auto weapons are a danger physically to the public, and liability wise to departments. Unlike the military, in a fire fight, we are responsible for every round we throw down range. The possibility of hitting an innocent is a definite concern and without extensive training it is a hazard. With today's financial issues, departments cannot afford the ammo or time to put into an officer to train them on full auto use. I do believe patrol should deploy carbines when applicable...look at the LA shootout, They were needed then, and in some instances taking the offensive is the correct action.

Under SWAT conditions, the situations change, but in my experience, outside a terrorist shooting assault type of attack, SWAT situations can also be handled with semi auto weapons.

Finally, I know it was said it would be a different thread, but it kind of irritates me. The comments about LEO's wanting to emulate the military is ridiculous. The military tactics in some situations save lives. Violence of action in SWAT situations saves lives. In patrol situations where a school shooting is taking place, violence of action saves lives. It has nothing to do with wanting to pattern after the military, but some of those tactics work and are applicable to some of our duties.

I don't want to cause issues, but these are my opinions and if I pi$$ anybody off I apologize.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,468 Posts
I think there is a clue in the methods folks like Delta and Seal units use. Even though they do have FA capability their training emphasizes well aimed semi-auto shots.

At one time my PD had a two shot burst option and I really liked that because it was a very fast double tap and every controllable, otherwise outside some special circumstances already mentioned semi is fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,190 Posts
Back in the early 90s when I was stationed in Alaska I had a chance to demonstrate to a few of my troopies the difference in accuracy between a 3 round burst and 3 fast, semi-auto shots. I was working with them on the Weaponeer prior to qualifications.

I set up the 25 meter target then took a supported rest position on sandbags (simulating a foxhole supported firing position) and fired off a three round burst. I played that back on the monitor and you could see one shot COM on target, the second over the targets left, our right shoulder, and the third shot was clear off the monitor. I then reset and from the same position fired a very fast, 3 shot string fired semi-auto where I essentially fired each time I rolled back in from the recoil with a flash sight picture. On playback there was a nice shot group COM of the target. Speedwise there wasn't much notable difference between both strings. Bangbangbang, vs bang,bang,bang. Yet accuracy wise there was considerable difference. From that point on these particular soldiers weren't as enamoured and awed by auto fire as they had been prior. They now had seen that even for an experienced shooter (I was even shooting a little Highpower Rifle then) auto fire was a great way to miss fast.

Which brings us to the topic at hand. Even in military circles auto fire is considered a special purpose tool with semi-auto being the preferred for general use when hitting targets is the idea. Auto sees a lot of use for suppressive fire, when their in the wire as the old saying went, and it's great for softening up on entry what wasn't softened up by the grenade tossed in prior to entry. So how often are regular patrol officers laying down suppressive fire for a military operation for kicking in doors and taking down rooms?

SWAT and other specialized teams generally get the specialized jobs. They also get the specialized training to include a fair bit of weapons training that I would hope would include how and when to effectively use auto fire. It would be an unusual department where regular LE get specialized weapons handling training. Most have such budget and time constraints that just getting the department trained and qualified with their duty sidearm is a challenge.

Going back to what I demonstrated to my soldiers that time then considering the level of training and the marksmanship levels of your average LE, those guys and gals who aren't gun people and may not shoot much, why would anyone think that a select fire carbine would make a good patrol rifle for your average officer? It doesn't take a brainiac to figure out that just getting hits under a high stress situation with semi-auto will be hard enough. Full auto? Yeah, there's a situation for pouring plenty of round into the neighborhood instead of the target. From a liability standpoint alone it is a bad idea.

Okay, so the gangbangers have full auto AKs are blasting away. Anyone really think they are going to have spec ops rifle skills? They're going to be even worse for a hit/miss ratio. The answer isn't going to be a massive increase in the number of bullets flying all over the place, but in solid hits by the good guys. Auto fire from adrenalin saturated patrol officers is probably not the way achieve that.

Law enforcement has their special/tactical operations units for special/tactical situations. They will be using military tactics so it makes sense they might be using military type weapons. The scope, training, and in many cases experience of your regular, day to day, officers is not a paramilitary mission. Even officers who are former combat arms military will understand the difference and the applications. Most of those will also understand just how effective they can be with aimed semi-auto fire.

Instead of a select fire patrol rifle, here's an idea. Take the difference in costs between a select fire and a semi-auto version of a rifle or carbine and use that to send/take a carbine course with someone like Costa, Haley, Howe, or any of those kinda guys. Way more effective. Anyone who has watched a video of Costa or Haley running a semi-auto AR knows just how fast a semi-auto can be run and still get effective hits. Equipment is always cool and something that can be held up and pointed at as "What we're doing to combat crime." a lot easier than training can. Yet ultimately it's the training. The quality, the time spent, and the effort expended that makes the difference and makes the tools in the hand matter less. A Snap On wrench in the hands of a mediocre mechanic won't make him do race car level work, but real craftsman of a mechanic can do the job with any wrench the will properly turn a bolt.

Match the tool to the job and to the mission level of the LE officer. The patrol carbine is just that. A carbine to give the patrol officer something to go to when a handgun just isn't the best first choice and they have a chance to grab hold of it. It isn't a paramilitary weapon and they aren't paramilitary soldiers. They're cops. Regular, out there everyday on the street doing normal law enforcement mission, cops. Leave the spec ops toys and missions to the spec ops guys.

I would also suggest that given the effective accuracy differences between semi and full auto fire and the amount of training and practice required to achieve any good level of auto fire accuracy that having select fire carbines for regular patrol officers endangers officers as well as bystanders. Hosing a general area instead of putting hits on target. If you don't hit the guy shooting at you he's going to keep shooting at you. It's not a round count game, it's a hit the target game that you really want to win.

To put it the way my best friend at Ft. Bragg who had an SF background and was Ranger tabbed as well put it. "If I have a squad and you're putting thousand of rounds a minute over our heads, we're coming in to get you. If every time one ours sticks his head up it gets shot off, we're not coming any closer."

Patrol Officer: Semi-auto/bolt/lever action carbine; 12 GA shotgun, handgun.
SWAT/Tactical Officer: Select fire carbine; 12 GA for select personnel, handgun.

In fact the ideal personal defensive weapons system for your day to day, regular LE is pretty much the same thing for your day to day, regular Joe or Joline. A good rifle, a good shotgun, a good handgun, and the ability to use all of them. Oh, and communications gear that works with someone on the other end that can get you help.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,947 Posts
The only real use for full automatic fire is for suppressive fire on a battle field. Keep your enemy's heads down, or at least make them real, real nervous, while you maneuver.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
776 Posts
First things first, former LEO myself, dept firearms instructor, and now retired, so no BS worries about telling the truth.

A lot of depts receive their select fires from military / fed agency surplus. We had the opportunity to get 10 MP5's from the military surplus system. The dept turned them down because of the select fire option. I tried to convince the bosses that just because it is there, it did not have to be used. No go on that argument. They just did not want the rifles because it had full auto / burst / semi auto selection. We ended up not getting anything because of the cost of getting an couple AR's and the stuff to go with it. We still had our 870's of course, and they are a great shotgun, just not as accurate as a rifle. Because of the liability issue, we had removed the OO Buck from the guns and went with slugs. One aimed slug being less of a liability than 9 OO pellets going down range. That decision came down from the town council and their lawyer after consulting several other towns and their lawyers. We kept a few boxes of buckshot in the trunk in case of riots or other situations where it might be needed, but the slug was the authorized carry round.

All that being said, I believe that the semi auto only patrol rifle should be the choice for the street. I can put out a lot of rounds on semi auto fast and accurate. If given the choice of full or semi, I would choose semi. I fired a bunch of full auto in the USCG, and know that most people are better off in semi auto than full. Better accuracy, controlled fire. After switching to semi auto pistols from revolvers, the LEO community has seen an increase in collateral damage hits on civilians. Just look at the NYPD shootings of recent years for proof of that. Spray & Pray mentality when you have full mags is a bad thing. Back when we carried revolvers, the knowledge that you only had 6 rounds available at the ready caused you to aim and make sure of your shot. The advent of the wonder 9 showing up in the LEO community has done more damage to LEO accuracy than anything else. The "old guys" on the street are retiring now, those that started out with revolvers, and the "new breed" only know the high cap pistols that are carried today. Fire control that the old guys used is becoming a lost art, and spray and pray is the up and coming method of the day. Giving them full auto capability would probably be a bad thing. Fire control is a state of mind. Given my opinion, semi auto would be the only choice for a patrol rifle.

That said, my dept finally got themselves an AR and three magazines. It rides in the Sgts trunk, and only deployed at his decision. I pushed for a different choice. Remington makes a dandy rifle, the 7615. It is a pump action that uses AR mags. It is very similar to the 870 shotgun in form and function. Controls are the same, pump action like the 870, but using the 223 / 5.56 rounds fed from the AR type mags. This is a great choice for patrol rifle. Unfortunately, the SWAT mentality of having to have a select fire AR has kept them from seeing much use.
 

·
Super Moderator
EDC: SIG P938.
Joined
·
22,338 Posts
I took a one-day subgun class, and part of the festivities was having the owner come out and put two hits on three targets, El Presidente style, from the leather with his Glock, faster than anyone in the class could do the drill with an Uzi from low-ready. Shooting the Uzi was fun, but when engaging point targets in an urban or other populated area, I don't see the need for full-auto fire.
I got to shoot a local SWAT officer's duty "rifle", which was a $3000 custom AR carbine (14" barrel, maybe? 12"?) with monolithic upper, lights, lasers, optics, etc. Probably just the thing for house clearing, but I don't know that full-auto really increases the officer's capabilities?
And, I don't know if taxpayers are getting their money's worth?
This guy is a cop in my neck of the woods, and in ten years there's never been gang war, terrorist attack, meth lab take-down, etc., so what's the perceived threat that requires a full-auto response?
I remember reading a short blurb by Col. Cooper, who had a disdain for full-auto fire. He told of a military officer who was awakened by an excited soldier reporting the presence of enemy troops on the perimeter, and the officer asked, "Are they (the enemy) on full-auto?", and when the soldier replied in the affirmative, the officer went back to bed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,864 Posts
A lot of depts receive their select fires from military / fed agency surplus.
I spoke with a few LEO at the shotgun and pistol club regarding this stuff.. and that's where their agencies (smaller town ones) got their rifles. Military hand me downs.

I agree, no full auto use for LE... the only purpose as mentioned is for suppressive fire, and if you are in a situation where that is required, you need powers above the police to help.

On the other hand though, I don't think this should be a reason to not allow them to have select fire weapons. If from a financial standpoint it makes sense for the dept. to get select fire weapons, then they should to equipment officers as they find fit, but it should be also implemented that no full auto fire is allowed, or remove the fire controls that allow for full auto shooting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,112 Posts
The only time I have ever seen Full-Auto fire be any kind of effective was when it was used to Close off the end of a L-type ambush. And that was almost always an M60. In an ambush Semi-Auto fire, aimed semi-auto fire, is murderous! A 12 man squad can decimate a platoon with aimed Semi-Auto fire in such situations. F/A fire, unless you're being overrun, is useless and a waste of ammunition. It's a last-ditch sort of thing.

I can see absolutely no need for the average LEO to possess a Full-Auto weapon. There is no rational reason to. That's what a SWAT team is for. As for using such equipment, Boston was a good example. Totally uncalled for, Armored personnel Carriers, Cops sweeping every moving thing with Select-fire weapons. Rediculous! All for one man armed with a handgun, if that.

The Militarization of the Police is totally unnecessary and a threat to public safety and personal liberties.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,421 Posts
I am a died in the wool semi auto AR's for Cops kind of guy. I believe it is easier to train, easier to account for your rounds and more than capable of doing the job. I also think the comparison of LEO's and the Military while at one time might have been true is kind of outdated. I also agree that select fire weapons that are issued by LEA's tend to be either military surplus or one of the pistol caliber sub-machine guns (MP5, UMP40 or 45). Those agencies that choose those weapon don't have a choice as they are mostly only available in select fire. The USMS has the UMP-45 and while it is a great weapon I don't think it is a viable weapon for cops. My department has had a rifle policy for about 11 years and the qualifications to carry a patrol rifle are rather stringent. My department also issues weapons to some officers but everyone can carry a Department approved rifle, pistol or shotgun if they choose to. We also have a couple of MP5's that issued to SWAT types but they train in semi 99% of the time. Of the officers in enforcement positions in my department I think we have about 75% that are qualified to carry rifles and carry them daily. A rifle is a tool that if available can save lives, it gives a officer a accuracy advantage and more stopping power. I am also totally opposed to Hornady TAP ammo in a rifle, much prefer FMG and 62 grain HP's.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,434 Posts
There is no place for select-fire weapons in civil law enforcement. They are not shock troops, they are peace officers. Their one and only duty is to maintain order, not "take it to" anyone.

Besides, I've seen some them shoot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,421 Posts
There is no place for select-fire weapons in civil law enforcement. They are not shock troops, they are peace officers. Their one and only duty is to maintain order, not "take it to" anyone.

Besides, I've seen some them shoot.
Hate to tell you this but you and every other person expects us to take it to criminals on a daily basis. I know this is a gun forum and everyone here is prepared to defend themselves and their loved ones. If you haven't thought the implications of doing that out all the way from pulling the trigger to getting sued in civil court for everything you own you would probably be better served calling 911. Somewhere between pulling the trigger and civil court there is the questioning by police, Grand Jury, Criminal Court being ostracized by your friends and the questioning of your actions by yourself and loved ones. I'm not saying I'm better prepared for those things, I've been through them though, but my Department will fade a lot of the heat if I was justified. There is a reason why you wont go to a certain part of town or socialize with certain people, some may think its intelligence or some may think its fear, I don't know you are the only one who can answer that. I am willing to go to those parts of town if need be and I don't mind socializing with evil people, I've done both. I will agree with your statement about shooting though, not all cops are gun people. :hrm:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,947 Posts
It would depend on the situation for needing a fully automatic or three round burst firearm....I have a semi only AR personally for on duty. I also live in rural Missouri.....not Chicago....so I can't speak for the high crime city LE's.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,508 Posts
I practice at a range frequented by police officers practicing for qualifying tests.

There are a few outstanding police shooters there. However, most of the targets lead me to believe that the general dispersion of fully automatic weapons to police officers is not a good idea.

Also, my guess is that the average police officer has plenty to do besides mastering a full auto.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,227 Posts
I think it is the training involved. Years ago my lovely wifey took me to a range where one can rent a full auto for your birthday. Of course I wanted a Tommy Gun in 45. A big heavy gun shooting a not real powerful round

Thankfully my dad had shot them in WWII and gave me some pointers. That old crap about writing your name on the side of the car may be correct, but it took practice I bet. Thanks to what my dad told me I could pop off single rounds or short busts. With a lot more practice maybe I could write my name in the side of a car with one of them, if I could afford the ammo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,434 Posts
I will agree with your statement about shooting though, not all cops are gun people.
In my area most police cadets first touch handguns during classes at MATC. If they have handled anything, maybe it's a deer rifle for hunter safety or a target pistol.

They have not taken "shoot, don't shoot" seminars. They have not fired scoped or sniper rifles. They have not competed in IPSC or IDPA tournaments.

Not all jurisdictions have SWAT style organizations with big city budgets, ongoing training, nor do they rotate personnel through shooting schools.

We have cows here. We have trailer park domestic squabbles. We've had numerous "accidental" discharges in the police locker rooms. In short, these are the last guys I'd trust to rock n' roll.
 
1 - 20 of 105 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top