NOVEMBER 8, 2022

Around the Water Cooler: November Notes

“Less Lethal” Ain’t

A story of a criminal case emerged in the news last week when the jury returned a ‘not guilty’ verdict in the case of a small county undersheriff who attempted to use a so-called “less lethal” round fired from a shotgun to subdue a subject. The subject died.

In defense of the big corporate outfits who market these so-called “less lethal” rounds, these were allegedly homemade by a vendor in Michigan who sold them on the internet. There was no training accompanying the rounds, nor were there the obligatory warnings about them being dangerous and to be only used in deadly force situations.

Shotguns = deadly force, even with 'bean-bag' rounds.

The problem I have with the product isn’t the product (though it was at the outset). Our agency got these things and authorized them in the 1990s –before the “orange furniture” craze. Our people had training on them, were instructed as to proper targeting zones and – importantly – were taught this fact: firearms are instrumentalities of deadly force – only to be used when you’re legally justified in using that force that a reasonable person would consider capable of causing death or grave bodily harm.

In fact, a single officer couldn’t use the “less-lethal” specialty munitions without a cover officer providing deadly force cover.

In other words, if you could shoot them with slug or buckshot, you were okay to try beanbags – if you had deadly force cover standing by.

In the present case, there was no apparent indication that the offender possessed the Ability to kill or cripple, part of the ability-opportunity-jeopardy fact situation justifying homicide.

The charge, appropriately, was involuntary manslaughter. If he’d intended to kill, he’d have selected another force application tool. The jury, it seems, disagreed with the state’s contention that ignorance and a lack of training and competence should lead to criminal liability.

The defendant will still face the loss of life resulting from his actions for the remainder of his life. That’s a sentence no one can reduce.

Analyzing Fights

An internet blogger has taken to an analysis of shootings based on a video series that analyzes individual events for which video is available. He operates from a smart premise: “The problem with gunfights is that almost no one has actually been in one. This causes many people to believe anything that someone says, who has. This is a dangerous proposition. They may be right on the money, or they may have just been lucky …”

He’s right. The number of times a successful event has led to a department policy – even though it could have simply succeeded only due to chance – is depressing.

I’ve been asked how someone could be an instructor if that person had never been in a gunfight. Perhaps teaching “avoiding contact” would be more in line. My question is “if you were involved in a single fight, how much do you know about every fight?” – Or even most fights?

If you’re interested in his study, go check the link. You may or may not agree with his conclusions, but he made a credible effort to see what similarities exist in his samples of fights.

And remember: these are only engagements that occurred with video documentation. There is a body of engagements going unrecognized because they happened where no cameras were running.


I was recently contacted by a representative from premium performance footwear maker Garmont Tactical. I was unaware of the company before; apparently Garmont has an outdoors heritage. That’s a good start for footgear meant for those who work in law enforcement/military environments.

Garmont Tactical image

They shipped out a pair of their T4 Groove G-Dry mid-cut boots for a wear test. While I’m not in constant motion, regular walks with the hound and range trips give me an opportunity to check out shoes and boots.

These are waterproof, handy in the current weather pattern, with a comfortable “collar” around the mouth of the boot. The midsole is stable and enhances comfort. The stability comes from both the mid-cut format, giving support to the ankle and the footbed.

I found them a little short in size and the width was a bit less than I needed … at first. During the first range trip, I was concerned I’d made a mistake wearing these. I didn’t carry spare shoes.

After starting work, I got busy with targets, magazines and a timer and, soon, I realized that I wasn’t feeling the discomfort from wearing the T4 Groove boots.

I guess they take a little break-in.

Interesting gear. If it’s time to update your duty boots, you may want to give these a look.

-- Rich Grassi