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Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).



William Harvey

William Harvey

William "Bill" Harvey is currently serving as chief of police in south central Pennsylvania. He retired from the Savannah (Ga.) Police Department where he worked assignments in training, patrol, and CID. Harvey has more than 25 years of experience working with recruits, rookies, and FTOs.
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Accepting Department-Issued Equipment

Learn to deal with gear you don't like — it's all you've got.

July 12, 2007  |  by William Harvey - Also by this author

Recently a reader contacted me about a personal dilemma. He told me his department issues a certain make and caliber of pistol and he doesn't like it. He further stated he did not like the holster, in addition to a laundry list of other items he was issued. What could he do now as his agency's newest rookie?

How would I deal with these unpleasant events? I'll tell you.

Deal With It

First and foremost, deal with it. Each department selects and issues equipment for its own reasons, not yours. There are some agencies where officers may purchase and select their own weapons, but this is not the case for the officer who contacted me. Sometimes you are issued equipment that you don't like—sorry. I asked the officer if he was aware of the issue duty gun prior to taking the job. "Yes," he said, "But…" There are no buts here. Deal with it and adapt.

Train to Live, Not to Whine

If you are uncomfortable with the weapons system (weapon, ammo, and holster) that you are issued, then train harder and train smarter. Accuracy is what does the job. I don't care if you have a fire breathing, maxed out, loaded magnum plus. You have got to put the projectile in a location of the body that will successfully stop the aggressive action. 'Nuff said.

Comfort level with the handgun not there yet? Then learn as much as you can about it. Research all you can about the weapon, care, maintenance, and how to maximize your working knowledge of it. You cannot avoid this instrument just because you don't like it. You must master your weapon, and then your confidence will improve.

Go to the Range and Train

Notice I said train, not punch little holes. Put yourself under the realistic pressures of police work, not marksmanship. Keep all of the safety rules and do drills under the guidance and recommendations of your rangemaster.

Run and shoot in all conceived firing positions. Daylight, twilight, and night time; don't forget inclement weather either. You work in the rain and snow? Train in them as well. Practice your failure drills and know how to return the weapon back to a functioning weapon. Practice both right handed and left handed shooting. Shoot from cover. Then let the rangemaster get creative with you.

Do failure drills, tactical reloading, and shooting from various positions. The point here is that you are training for tactical survival, not just slinging lead.

With an empty weapon (double check it) practice your drawing skills. It should become second nature. In martial arts I was told that it takes thousands of repetitions to make anything a skill. If my Sensei read this, he would tell you for a technique to become a skill takes tens of thousands of repetitions, and then only if you can perform it under all known situations as well as the "what to do" situations.

The Rest of the Stuff

I'm not going to discuss the rest of the "stuff" (yes that is a technical term) that you are issued right now. The biggest worry, if it is a true worry, is the weapons system that you are issued. I don't know why, but this is always number one with officers. Master their use and stay proficient with them.

There are many things in life we have no control over. Instead of dealing with it by whining, deal with it by undergoing realistic training. Then you will also conquer your fears and misgivings. Who knows? You might just like that handgun after all.


Comments (3)

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

rogersoncp @ 7/14/2007 9:02 AM

As a SSG in the US Army, I have to accept every piece of equipment issued to me and I have to deal with it so I think this rookie can do the same. Perhaps after the rookie does a few years he can transfer to another agency where he may be able to select his own equipment. Then again if he takes your advice and does some realistic training then his personal issues with his assigned weapon will pass and he will become a better officer.

I have shot many weapons over the years but I would not abandon my career just because I like another countries issue weapon system or the fact that they may be authorized to wear shorts, etc...

TERRY MILLER @ 7/26/2007 1:58 PM

There is no such thing as "The perfect weapon" or the "Perfect Dept."
That young man needs to do some growing up if he intends to survive in this profession. If he can get his attitude right and learn to make the most of what he is given he might just make probation.

sledgehammer67 @ 8/29/2007 1:30 PM

Here's a tip to deal with the firearm problem...Become good with it...Better than that, train to become the BEST with it. Build your career. Learn things that save lives. Learn the meaning of sacrifice, and loyalty to your profession. Follow these precepts and place yourself in a position of influencing the decisions that choose the firearms and gear we carry. With experience and good judgment, you will find a rather surprising thing out--People will listen to you!

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