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Accidental mag ejection at the worst time Login/Join 
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I watched video of a police-involved Houston gunfight this morning. One officer accidentally ejected his mag not once, but twice. I have seen it in other videos as well. This happened to be a P320, and other videos were presumably Glock pistols. Is this a training issue, or a weapon design issue? Do those in LE have any insight into what departments do to mitigate this? Surely it is addressed in training. I understand that high stress situations bring out the lurking Murphy's law, but this seems to happen enough that it ought to be addressed in some way, and I think it likely can be mitigated.
 
Posts: 1159 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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In the videos you referenced, can you see what the officer is doing with the gun?

This is a still from a video of an unintentional ejection in a Brevard County, Florida, incident, and I believe the reason is because the officer has his thumb rotated down onto the magazine catch.





A couple of possible reasons for his holding the gun like that come to mind. First is just that he was gripping the pistol as hard as possible to avoid dropping it and/or due to the stress of the situation. A stronger grip is possible with one’s thumb rotated down as shown rather than keeping it up on the slide for a better firing grip. The other thought is that he was accustomed to shooting with a “revolver” grip on the pistol, i.e., with the thumb normally rotated down, as many shooters, especially novices, do. Or possibly a combination of the factors.

As for how to prevent it, the more practice shooters have with their guns, the less likely they are to hold it in an unnatural way that causes the mag catch to be pressed. Teaching a thumbs-up grip on the pistol might help to keep the officer from rotating it down, but perhaps not entirely. As is fairly well known, many LEOs simply don’t shoot their weapons very much. During the last training session I held for my agency, officers fired 100 rounds, drawing from the holster each time. According to what I’ve read, officers in other agencies might not fire that many rounds in a couple of years.

Pressing the catch with one’s thumb could be prevented by switching it to the right side of the gun (as I prefer), but as I know from personal experience, then if the pistol isn’t held properly the trigger finger can overlay the catch and cause a release. That’s only happened to me once in many years of firing tens of thousands of rounds with a right side magazine catch, but it’s possible.

Beyond just more trigger time I cannot think of any magic “training” that would address that specific issue. If it were possible to configure one of the FBI’s special sensor equipped pistols with a way to cause an electric shock if the mag catch is touched, that might condition shooters to keep their thumbs off the catch, but it’s also literally a fantasy proposal. To answer your question about the issue’s being addressed in training, it’s not something I’ve ever thought necessary, and it’s not something that has ever been brought up in the training I’ve received. There is lots of emphasis on reloads and clearing malfunctions, and the reload training would help deal with the situation, but no specific training. It will, however, be something else I can mention when advocating the thumbs-up firing grip.

As for weapon design, sure: Go to a European style heel catch on all pistols. Roll Eyes
If we’re being sensible, though, the advantages of the conventional American push button catch far outweigh its very rare disadvantage. Perhaps a paddle type catch as used on some guns like the HK P7M13 would help, but might just make the problem more likely because then the magazine could be released from either side of the gun.

Can you provide links to the videos you referenced?




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Posts: 46084 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Casuistic Thinker and Daoist
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quote:
Originally posted by KSGM:
Surely it is addressed in training. I understand that high stress situations bring out the lurking Murphy's law, but this seems to happen enough that it ought to be addressed in some way, and I think it likely can be mitigated.

I’ve never attended any LE training which taught using a low thumbs hold with the strong hand…but I’ve seen it advocated number of times on this and other forums

The issue is that most officers don’t practice enough to instill getting a proper grip on their guns under stress and will always default to their lowest level of training.

Another thing I’ve seen, not in LE but with many shooters, is the desire to replace their nag release with one they can reach without shifting their shooting grip. Making the mag release more accessible makes accidental release easier.

I’m firmly convinced that the lever/paddle releases found on H&K and Walther pistols which ride along the curve of the trigger guard are superior as the motion used to activate them is different from that used to grip the gun




No, Daoism isn't a religion



 
Posts: 13947 | Location: northern california | Registered: February 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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quote:
Originally posted by 9mmepiphany:
Another thing I’ve seen, not in LE but with many shooters, is the desire to replace their nag release with one they can reach without shifting their shooting grip. Making the mag release more accessible makes accidental release easier.

I didn’t want to think about that, and although that would be rare among LEOs, it isn’t impossible. If an agency has loose (or no) restrictions or doesn’t inspect and enforce them very stringently, someone might decide that an extended “competition” mag catch would be just the thing to have.




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Posts: 46084 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I Deal In Lead
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quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:
quote:
Originally posted by 9mmepiphany:
Another thing I’ve seen, not in LE but with many shooters, is the desire to replace their nag release with one they can reach without shifting their shooting grip. Making the mag release more accessible makes accidental release easier.

I didn’t want to think about that, and although that would be rare among LEOs, it isn’t impossible. If an agency has loose (or no) restrictions or doesn’t inspect and enforce them very stringently, someone might decide that an extended “competition” mag catch would be just the thing to have.


My thoughts were that it might be an extended mag release also.
 
Posts: 9914 | Location: Gilbert Arizona | Registered: March 21, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCYsG-gHRc4

That's the footage that prompted my post; there's no way I can track down the other footage I recall seeing.

I had the extended controls thought as well, and it's something I have talked about with folks, concerning the AR platform. The easier we make certain functions of the gun, the easier they may be accidentally performed.

I don't know that I'd take it to a heel release level of revision, but something like a fence around the button may prove useful. Seems to me that a bit of different practice and a fraction of a second added to a reload sure beats my bullets coming out the bottom of the gun when I want them coming out the front at a much higher rate of speed.
 
Posts: 1159 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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A very interesting video. Thank you.

There is plenty to speculate about in the video, and the first thing I noted about the officer who lost all the magazines was that he was using a tricked out SIG P320 with flared magazine well, slide with lightening cuts, and some sort of optic. I kept looking to see if I could spot an extended magazine catch, but I can’t be certain one way or another. But if there were officers whose guns had an extended catch, though, I’d expect him to be one.

Why he kept dropping magazines, though, is less clear. When it was possible to see, he seemed to be using a very high thumbs-up grip which sort of reduces the possibility of an unintentional mag catch press, even if it were extended. But perhaps it was being pressed with a support finger under the stress of the situation.

Something else that occurred to me was that the officer may have been a regular competitor, and I wonder if he had some “competition scars” that affected his actions. There were two things I wondered about.

First was the possibility that he shot many drills or competition stages that involved firing a limited number of rounds to slide lock and then reloading. If he were strongly conditioned to that sequence, he might have unthinkingly dropped the first magazine for that reason. As I recall, I believe that I’ve done the same thing a time or two. I try to mix up the actions required in various drills to avoid becoming conditioned to the same set of actions for that reason, but ingrained habits can be difficult to overcome.

Another thought that occurred to me also related to a possible competition scar. One common drill is to fire a number of rounds and then perform what I call a proactive reload in which the partially empty mag in the gun is removed and replaced with a fully-loaded mag. The usual practice is to retain the partially loaded mag, but I wonder if in some drills or competitions, it’s just better (faster) to let the partially loaded mag go rather than retaining it. That would fit what we saw with the first mag that was dropped. In that case dropping the mag may have been deliberate and not an accident.

Why he dropped the second mag, though, is less easy to explain unless it was simply due to mishandling the weapon. If my first thought was correct, though: shoot a limited number of rounds and reload automatically, then it could have been the reason for the second mag drop.

In any event, the fact that the officer was using a nonstandard pistol introduces some other factors into the mix of trying to determine why magazines sometimes get dropped unintentionally.




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Posts: 46084 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Casuistic Thinker and Daoist
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I’m not seeing the competitor angle or that he purposely ejected the magazine.

If that were the case, he would have broken his shooting grip and started reaching for the reload while the spent mag was still in the air. You notice that he pressed the trigger again after the magazine dropped. Plus his grabbing the fresh magazine was severely flawed

I think it mch more likely, after seeing the video clip, that he inadvertently released the magazine by improper grip…likely with the support hand’s lower thumb




No, Daoism isn't a religion



 
Posts: 13947 | Location: northern california | Registered: February 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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Good points.
Mishandling is the most likely explanation, especially as my hypothesis doesn’t really fit dropping the second mag. It would be interesting to know if he had the extended mag catch along with the other pistol mods.




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Posts: 46084 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I also found it odd that he kept messing with the gun, doing an odd kind of press-check or something; he bumped the red dot a couple times with his off hand. I guess he was paranoid about something happening with his gun, after the magazine ejections.
 
Posts: 1159 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Casuistic Thinker and Daoist
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quote:
Originally posted by KSGM:
I also found it odd that he kept messing with the gun, doing an odd kind of press-check or something; he bumped the red dot a couple times with his off hand. I guess he was paranoid about something happening with his gun, after the magazine ejections.

It is common practice to use the red dot housing to rack the slide. You use the same motion as an overhand rack…you just don’t need to grab it




No, Daoism isn't a religion



 
Posts: 13947 | Location: northern california | Registered: February 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
War Damn Eagle!
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quote:
I think it much more likely, after seeing the video clip, that he inadvertently released the magazine by improper grip…likely with the support hand’s lower thumb


This.

I have a co-worker who's new to competition shooting and shoots with a stock P226. He was having an issue of mags dropping while firing. His thought was a worn mag release or not fully seating the mag. After watching him shoot a few times, turns out he was sliding his weak hand slightly forward. Combine that a death grip and the meaty part of his palm at the base of his thumb was hitting the mag release. Demo'd it a few times to show him it what he was doing. After that, he paid attention to his grip and the problem stopped.


Looks like a 320 XFive Legion the Officer has.
I believe those do not come factory with extended mag releases.


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Posts: 12451 | Location: Realville | Registered: June 27, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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People do really funky things under stress, in addition to videos like this I’ve seen some wonky stuff during force on force drills as well.

Ideally, a solid training foundation with proper grip really reinforced and then pressure tested with as much FoF training as practicable.




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Posts: 5024 | Location: Oregon | Registered: October 02, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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When I was in a position to influence policy I attempted to ban extended controls, just to avoid accidents such as this, and holster fit-and-function issues. It was met with much screaming and yowling by several coppers who were also competitive shooters, and good ones at that. My point was that gunfights are rarely if ever won by hyper-fast reloads, which should ideally be done behind cover anyway, compared to the risk of inadvertently hitting the release.

And then there was open warfare over the slide lock versus slide release conundrum.
 
Posts: 512 | Registered: June 11, 2018Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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