Police Trainer Tells Cops To Quit Throwing Guns Like It’s A Video Game

Police Trainer Tells Cops To Quit Throwing Guns Like It’s A Video Game
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Today’s cops are, apparently, throwing their guns all over the place, says a police training expert. One guy threw it behind cover before diving after it. Another guy ditched his weapon in a struggle for a rifle. These are poor decisions, says the expert, and he thinks he knows what’s behind them.

Yup, video games.

Now, let’s not point fingers and laugh too much. Whatever the reason for throwing a weapon instead of holstering it, there are all sorts of bad outcomes, from an accidental or negligent discharge (which he notes often outnumber incidents where a weapon is deliberately fired at an armed adversary) to someone else picking up the gun. So if my civilian opinion matters, hell yes, Richard Fairburn, in this article, is telling cops to do a proper and professional thing by holstering their sidearms. He’s a 30-year professional, and ran the firearms training unit of “a major police academy”.

That said, his analysis of the cause is based only on two anecdotal occurences, and a deputy offhandedly guessing that police are ditching their guns because they can only carry one at a time in the video games they play off duty. That’s just… weird, probably the weirdest thing I’ve seen cops blame on video games, but OK.

“Could our two cops who threw down their sidearm have unwittingly trained themselves in such a response while playing Call of Duty or Ghost Recon?” he writes.

Probably not sir, you see —

“I have no science to back up it up, but Jay’s theory sure makes sense to me.”

I’m not sure he understands that, in a video game, there’s an implied act of holstering the weapon as you switch it out or use your hands to do something else. Because when I reselect my SMG or my assault rifle, presto, it’s back. It’s not behind a bush, and it doesn’t fall on the ground unless we’re in a cutscene.

The only time I actually throw a weapon in video game is when I’m rolling with a Tediore in Borderlands 2, which turn into grenades once their ammo is out. That’s a science fiction game, not a tactical simulator, so I doubt that’s what these dadblasted video-game playin’ rookies have in mind when they’re chuckin’ guns.

“An important aspect of holstering during a high-risk event is to ensure the weapon will remain holstered,” he correctly notes. “Once you clear that chain-link barrier in a move T.J. Hooker would admire, it’s nice to still have your sidearm with you.” Just like you do in a video game.

Throwing down your sidearm: A video game training scar? [PoliceOne.com — Thanks mr_raccoon!]


  • I’m more inclined to think of action movies here. Where you literally, you know, see them ditching one gun to grab another.

      • Especially considering the lack of any science!

        I mean, I’m not claiming any study here, but I’m also not staking my reputation on opinions also.

  • When I first read this, I immediately thought of Hotline Miami.
    Except they’re not throwing the gun at someone else.

  • Yea I don’t know about you guys, but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from video games: it’s drop my gun on the ground…


    • Games like halo and cod where you find a new gun and have to drop the old one to pick up the new one etc. It kinda makes sense in an absurd way.

      • I cannot fathom a correlation between dropping a real-life firearm which I am tasked with securing at all times, and pressing X on a controller.

        I’ve played Fruit Ninja, but I ain’t throwing my apples in the air when I want bite-size slices…?

        • I did say in an absurd way, it calls for one to use the faulty method of correlation vs causation which never EVER leads to credible evidence or results. It’s a very loose connection at best and one that bears no real attachment to reality. The real likely culprit however is CRAP training or just a plain crap cop.

          And dude, you’ve never done that? LOL. Even I’ve sliced at an apple in the air with a knife!!! For real! lol

    • I see the problem here: Cadets trained with the incorrect video games.

      If only they had been trained to keep their inventory organized and/or apply strength/stamina/inventory-related perks.

  • White Collar Professionals
    Unskilled Labour

    Thats the order of intelligence/competence that was followed when I was 18 and ppl were leaving secondary school for college/jobs. I doubt it’s changed much.

  • Well, if it’s made by Tediore – you can throw it away and it’ll explode like a grenade.


  • That is one of the stupidest things I have ever read….
    The scariest part…. they allow him to have a gun in the first place!

    • Oh I dunno, it makes a little bit of sense really when you sit down and think about it. I can definitely imagine a stupid person throwing their gun away for a rifle. Would have to be *very* stupid though…

      • Yeah but if they were *that* stupid, they couldn’t blame it on video games….
        Last time I checked, solitaire didn’t have guns in it

  • I train a police trainer. He’s a firearms expert and he would say (we talk about his work all the time) that it comes down to cops being idiots and being poorly trained. He’s shown me many times the process for unholstering, there’s many steps to it and basically if the pistol is not being aimed, it’s back in the holster.

    What he’s told me about his recruits though has really dampened my appreciation for the police. A lot of them get their training and then cut every corner they can when on the job because ‘it’s boring’.

    • When I did my security training, one of the instructors liked to tell a story about how he’d come across a young constable on patrol who had left the catch on his holster unfastened.

      The ex-cop trainer was able to come up behind the constable and deftly remove the weapon, with a brief shoulder-pat and, “Excuse me officer, you seem to have misplaced your firearm,” offering it back to him.

      The young officer got incredibly upset about it, aggressively threatening to arrest the trainer and charge him with all sorts of things, but the older sergeant accompanying him calmed him down abruptly by noting, “You need to apologize and thank this citizen for not filing a formal complaint, and hope to hell that no-one higher than me ever, ever, ever hears about it, because you leaving your weapon unsecured will get you in so much more shit than this gentleman would get in taking it from you to prove a point.”

      The fireable kind of shit, apparently.

      • Wowser, that’s a doozey. I can imagine if you did that you a cop when his superior wasn’t around, you’d be in some terrible shit – so anyone should think before they try to re-enact that, no matter how badass it turned out.

        • You’d have to have some serious stones and knowledge of the law to pull it off, I’d bet. There’s no way in hell I’d ever try it just in case I got a gun pulled on me myself. 😛

  • It’s definitely action movies to blame, not video games. Every time I see someone pose with their finger on the trigger of a gun I cringe…

  • Completely wrong. If it was the influence of games, recruits would be trying to carry more weapons and ammo than humanly possible.

    “whaddaya mean I can’t carry my shotgun, sniper, pistol and rocket launcher at the same time?”

  • I work with the police and I have never heard of anything like this. Recruiting is done for a reason; to weed out the idiots. Thats not to say that no idiots ever get through, as with ANY JOB there will always be the minority that do the wrong thing but 99% of the time the cops ive met are decent guys/gals that try to do the best by the community. Police trainers TRAIN people in the proper methods… if a recruit throws down his firearm then he gets a kick up the arse and will probably not pass to become a constable.

    I get sick of people giving cops such a hard time… its one of the most hated professions… which is kind of funny because the first thing people do when they get in trouble is ask for their help. Every other time they’re badmouthing them and making up stupid stories.

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