As a kid in the police academy I learned how to fire the Smith and Wesson revolvers “double action.” The means without cocking the hammer back. On a un-modified revolver, this took about 12 pounds of pressure. If you cocked it, it only took about 4 or 5 pounds of pressure.
The entire time Smith and Wesson has been making double action revolvers; they really haven’t changed much at all. If you fired one made in the 1950’s it felt about like one made in the 1980’s.
I’m sure there are some who read this and argue that you could “work the action” and make it smoother and lighter…but for an issued weapon, we did not mess with them.
I remember how proud I was when I got hired on and went in to the station for all my equipment issue. They measured me for my uniforms, issued boots, gun belt and when they handed me a brand new in the box Stainless Steel Smith and Wesson Model 66 .357 magnum revolver, I was very happy. I did not get a used revolver, but a brand new one…never been issued to any other copper. That was a good day in 1979.
My first night on patrol by myself after I was off the F.T.O. (Field Training Officer) Program, I was so happy. I look back now and realized I really had no idea what the hell I was doing... and if we had a cop today with no experience, he or she would get a good solid 18 week with a few F.T.O’s, not the two weeks I got with some old guy on day shift who kept falling asleep as I drove the car around. I really DKS (Didn't Know Shit)
…anyway, my first night I made 3 felony arrest and got into a foot pursuit. Well, I actually didn’t chase the idiot who ran away from me on foot…he was on foot, I got into my patrol car and figured I’d just let him get tired and all. He ran for about 6 blocks, never realizing that he wasn’t going out run that old Dodge V-8, but he finally just got tired and fell down. Fat kid was really out of shape. He just went to jail tired.
A few months later is when I remember the 12 pounds of pressure.
One of the other coppers I was working with one night--let's call him John--- called out on the radio that he was at some kind of disturbance at the Stop & Rob Market. I rolled over to back him up. As the other John the cop was talking to some dumbass about not disrupting life and peace of the rest of the world, two other turds were walking out of the store arguing. It was a very loud and nasty arguement...lots of bad words and yelling.
I was trying to cover my partner, but I had to turn to see if the other two were going to be a threat to us. One of the turds had a small pocket knife in his hand and was telling the other turd that he was going to cut him.
Without even thinking or realizing it, I had my Shiny Stainless Steel Smith and Wesson Model 66 .357 magnum revolver out of my holster in my hand and pointed at turd with a knife much quicker than I could have ever drawn if I was only at the range. That draw impressed me and I don't think I've ever been able to draw that fast again. It was truly amazing.
I began yelling for turd with the knife to drop the knife, drop the knife, drop the knife, drop the knife, drop the knife,drop the fucking knife. All for nothing as he didn’t even blink or turn to look at me.
.....the other cop finally figured that what ever I had going on was now more important than the loud turds he was talking to….and he called for more cops. I’m not sure where he thought they were coming from, because I knew that we were the only two cops within miles who were not really busy. (yeah I know of TV they always have plenty of cops for everything…but this was real life cop work in them days)
So, by this time my partner John, was now looking at turd with a knife, except where John was standing John couldn’t see the knife. I’m standing there yelling at the idiot to put the knife down, and now the cop I was backing up is my back up, but he still doesn’t see the problem so he’s just standing there with nothing useful in his hands. (Something useful in those days might have been a baton, gun, or mace).
So about the 50th time I yell at turd with a knife to drop the knife, I realize that he’s not looking at me, but he’s lookin’ at the other turd whom he’s pissed of at about something. I think to myself: “Maybe he doesn’t see that I’m a cop because he’s not lookin’ at me standing here with the blue uniform, badge, police patches, cop haircut, cop mustache, gun belt and this really big friggen gun in my hand.”
So, I say a few magic words: “I am a police officer, drop the fucking knife or I am going to shoot you!!!” in my best outside voice.
He dropped the knife, I spun him around, put on my shiny new handcuffs and threw him into the back of my patrol car before a crowd could form and come and rescue his dumb ass.
Oh yeah, when he dropped the knife, I kind of looked down and my pistol and realized that I had already applied about 6 pounds of pressure on the 12 pound trigger. He never knew how close to being shot he was. I was really glad that I did not have to shoot him.