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Departments : Officer Survival

One Down

April 01, 2003  |  by Mike Izumi

Your Weapon is Jammed

To clear a “simple jam” with one hand, roll the gun over, hook the rear sight on the edge of your duty belt, and briskly cycle the slide.

The most direct way to clear a "simple jam" when you only have one hand is to roll the gun over, hook the rear sight on the edge of your duty belt, and briskly cycle the slide.

If your weapon is equipped with an angled rear sight base that does not allow you to hook the rear sight edge on your belt, simply hook the edge of the ejection port on either your duty belt or the side of your holster when cycling the slide.

Two warnings here. Watch the muzzle of your gun, since it will be coming close to your leg. And remember, two-thirds of all police shootings occur in low-light or almost no-light conditions, so make sure you can cycle your slide by feel.

The above technique works for simple jams, but what about a double-feed? A double-feed jam is characterized by a round in the chamber and a loaded magazine in the gun with another round starting to enter the chamber and pressing against the chambered round.

This is probably the most difficult jam to clear, even with two hands. Brent Purucker of the Smith & Wesson Academy teaches a really good technique for clearing a double-feed.

Start with your gun canted slightly inward, and press and hold the magazine release button. Lock your wrist, drive the handgun down, and at the same time raise your knee quickly. As the forearm impacts the fleshy portion of your thigh, the magazine will literally jump out of the bottom of the handgun. Note: make sure the magazine well is clear of your leg.

With the mag clear, roll your pistol over, hook the rear sight, and cycle the slide briskly several times to ensure that the chamber is clear. Then perform a one-handed reload as described above and get back in the fight.

On the Ground

Most ranges are characterized by pristine surfaces, flat, clean, and usually marked with regulated concrete strips. But the street is everything that the range is not. Dirt, debris, snow, and mud all create substantial hazards to an officer returning fire from the ground.

The overpressure from the muzzle blast of a pistol fired inches off the ground can kick up debris, and literally blind you when you are already in a fight for your life. With that in mind, it behooves you to raise the muzzle of the firearm off the ground before discharging the weapon.

If you find yourself down on your dominant side, go to a Reverse Weaver shooting position to raise the gun muzzle off the ground. Or simply perform a Chapman Transition to raise the muzzle off the ground while returning fire.

When you find yourself down on your non-dominant side, immediately perform a Weaver shooting position, with the non-dominant arm sharply bent to raise the muzzle. Or once again, you can execute a Chapman Transition to raise the muzzle before firing one handed.

Now, you've just read about some specific techniques for surviving a debilitating condition, and I'm sure that you were mentally roleplaying the above injured officer scenarios to see how you would perform these techniques. Well, I'm here to tell you that just thinking about these life-saving techniques is not enough.

Just reading about these techniques will not imprint the understanding of each technique into your Emergency sub-folders. So the next time you go to the range, get clearance from your rangemaster and train with these techniques. Training will allow you to functionalize each technique, find out how your equipment (and carry methods for gun and ammunition) will lend themselves to these techniques, and most importantly, it will allow you to program your muscle memory for a crisis.

Mike Izumi is a reserve deputy who has worked for the San Bernardino County (Calif.) Sheriff's Office Force Options Training Center for 10 years. He is an instructor for the American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers (ASLET) and author of the book, "In Self Defense."

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