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  • Writer's pictureBrad Parker

One-Handed Shooting Saves Officer

Updated: Jun 8

Skillful Use of One-Handed Shooting and Immediate Action Drill Gets Him Back in Action After Malfunction.

We're taking a look at examples of real self-defense shooting incidents to remind us that a little less than half of all shootings for civilians in the U.S. involved shooting with one hand.

In this case, it involves a police officer from Surprise, Arizona, who is responding

to a domestic call.

In the video here we see the wife exiting through the screen door. She says something to the officer like "he's trying to hit me".  Apparently, this address has a history of these calls. 

Here's a quick breakdown of what we see on the officer's body camera:

  • The officer enters the door with a flashlight held in his support hand. You can see his thumb on the tailcap switch and the light illuminate the front door and the kitchen as officer makes contact with a male in the kitchen.

  • Male has long gun hanging down by right side. It starts to come up and the officer responds with 3 shots from a one-handed grip as he backs up. 

  • The officer apparently drops his flashlight and assumes a two-handed grip for 4 shots as he continues to back up.

  • On the fourth shot the slide does not go back into battery.  The officer conducts a "tap" to the bottom of the magazine and a "rack" on the slide which appears to remediate the problem. Then he assesses.

  • He says to his partner, "he's got an AR".  Then he contacts radio and says, "...998, I've got one male subject down, he has an AR-15". 

In actuality, the subject was armed with a shotgun.

“As the officer turned the corner, he encountered [the subject, 44-year-old Trinidad] Ledesma facing him with a black shotgun in his right hand,” Sgt. Richard Hernandez said in the briefing video.

Ledesma could be heard in the video saying, “Don’t come in. Don’t come near, boss.”

According to Hernandez, Ledesma began to bring his shotgun up, in the officer’s direction, prompting the officer to fire his weapon at least seven times. Ledesma was pronounced dead at the scene.

In this case, the officer responded quickly and effectively while juggling a pretty complicated cognitive load:

  • The original call came in from the daughter who told dispatch that she did not think there were any weapons in the house. This could lead to some complacency from responding officers.

  • The officer is holding and operating a flashlight in his left hand which is operating in a completely different mode or actions from his firing hand.

  • It's hard to tell if the officer already had his handgun out of the holster or if he made an incredibly fast draw from the holster. It could be assumed in the case that his gun was in the holster that he already had his hand on the grip because of how fast he came up on target.

  • It appears he dropped his flashlight to assume a two handed grip after shooting 3 shots and starting to back away from the source of danger.

  • Shooting rapidly with two hands, the officer recognizes that his handgun is out of battery and quickly conducts an immediate action drill in which he conducts a tap, rack, and assess. For more backstory on this shooting go here:

The Life Saving Lesson Here

We are going to see more examples of real gunfights which are solved and survived because of the defender's use of single-handed shooting.

Practice this element diligently.

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