There are few more humiliating things which can happen to a police officer than to shoot himself while holstering his duty pistol. For decades, duty holsters and quality concealment holsters have been cut to cover the triggerguard. This was because in the old days, many cops drew their revolvers with the finger already on the exposed trigger. If something hung up, the gun and the hand and finger kept going and there would be a “bang.” What goes up must come down and what comes from the holster must generally be returned to it. If something interdicts the trigger on the way in, the trigger stops but the gun keeps going, and we have another “bang.”
The jurors said the reason they convicted NYPD Officer Peter Liang of manslaughter (see Ayoob Files in the upcoming Jan/Feb 2018 issue) was that his finger was on the trigger of his GLOCK 19 when he unintentionally discharged it. Testimony had made it clear to them fingers were only supposed to be on triggers when one intended to fire. While the judge reduced the manslaughter conviction to negligent homicide, the same factors were still in play. I don’t think the NYPD Academy or the Firearms and Tactics Unit deserved any heat on the firearms training, though. Here’s why.