Ensure officers have enough practice with new weapons

Our police force is gradually making the switch from the Taurus M85 revolver to the CZ P-07 semi-automatic pistol (Officers getting more firepower; May 6).

This upgrade in firepower would indeed give our officers more confidence and also allow them to end armed threats more quickly, but it could also cause harm to the officers and those around them if they have insufficient training and practice with it.

The CZ P-07 has a single action/double action trigger mechanism, which means that the first pull of the trigger is a long and heavy one, while subsequent pulls of the trigger are shorter and lighter.

This is in contrast to the Taurus, which has a consistent length and weight of trigger pull.

This difference in the amount of force required to actuate the trigger could lead to a case of the first shot hitting the intended target but the second going way off.

This could not only lead to the stray shot hitting a non-target during a shootout but also give the assailant a short window to retaliate and potentially inflict fatal wounds on the first responders and those caught in the crossfire.

Getting used to the difference in the weight of the trigger pulls and being able to land shots on target in quick succession require a great deal of training. The time spent on firearms training will, therefore, have to increase.

Ensuring the average officer receives adequate training and practice will allow the police force to fully harness the increased firepower of a semi-automatic handgun and protect the nation with it.

Solomon Chua Xue Han

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2017, with the headline 'Ensure officers have enough practice with new weapons'. Print Edition | Subscribe