Officers feloniously killed in U.S. (red) Killed with own gun (green)
A common worry amongst people considering open carry: a gun grab. They worry that someone will take their gun from them and use it against them. I have yet to find a case in the United States where that’s happened to an armed citizen who wasn’t a law officer. Cops almost always open carry, and some have been victims of gun grabs. As the graph above indicates, the numbers are vanishingly small. [Click here for a link to the data sources used to construct the graphic.] In the last 10 years the average number of officers killed with their own gun was . . .
2.2 per year. According to the FBI UCR numbers, the average of all officers feloniously killed is 50. Gun grabs account for 4.4 percent of officers feloniously killed in the last 10 years with their own weapons. The number of sworn police officers in the United States in that period has averaged about 523 thousand a year. So the rate of police open carriers who are killed with their own guns is about .42 per 100,000. It’s not zero, but it is low.
On the other side of the coin, police inject themselves into dangerous situations. By the nature of their job, they get into physical confrontations with criminals, drunks, and drugged individuals while armed. So they are far more likely to be in situations where a weapons snatcher has motivation to do so.
The number of police killed with their own guns has gone down. That’s most likely due to the increased use retention holsters while carrying. At the same time, they are better trained at retaining their weapons. And the police often wear body armor designed to stop the projectiles carried in their service weapons.
The first defense against a weapons snatch: situational awareness. Be aware of people around you. Avoid confrontations, especially with argumentative, drunk, or drugged individuals. Of course, by open carrying, there is tactical deterrence; many criminals and aggressors will leave you alone because they see that you are armed, just as they will avoid the police.
Basic weapons retention is a good skill to acquire. Simple techniques can do quite a bit for weapons retention with minimal training. Any kind of retention holster, from a simple thumb break on up, makes a weapons snatch more difficult.
Note: level 2 and level 3 retention holsters make it very difficult to snatch a weapon; they also are more expensive and take practice to operate at speed. As in all things, there are cost and benefit ratios to consider. Is a top level retention holster necessary for open carry? Probably not, but it is worth consideration – especially if you carry in an area with a high crime rate.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
Link to Gun Watch