Friday, February 24, 2017

Gun Safety And You

About once a year I seem to start leaning toward repeating my views of safety. When I teach the four safety rules I try to weave them through the course. I present them and give visual aids.
Jeff Cooper said “I have lived a long active life, and I am still alive because I have always been very, very careful!” I tend to agree with Jeff.
The rules are:
1-All guns are always loaded.
2-Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
3-Keep your finger OFF the trigger until your sights are on the target.
4-Always be sure of your target.
I then explain that rules 2, 3, and 4 exist because of 1. “We are sure of our target because of why? Because all guns are always loaded and we need to know what we’re shooting at!”
I then quiz the students.
“Bill we keep rule 3 because of why?”
“Julia rule 2 is important because of which rule?”
I try to do that throughout their time with me.
Sometimes I add one more rule: Never point a gun at ME!
Rule number 5 is very important to me… Gun safety can be light-hearted too as long as the 4 rules are learned and kept seriously.
I also try to explain the rules in a little more detail. I’d like to do that now also.

Rule 1: All guns are always loaded
Don’t let anyone change this rule with something like “Treat” all guns as if they were loaded. The two words “as if” messes everything up. If I pick up a gun and clear it I can then do anything with it now because I’ve cleared it, right? No! What if my clearing of that weapon was sloppy or I just missed that shell in the barrel? I like the wording of the rule, all and always, are powerful. This is the most important rule. All the other rules are linked to this one. When someone hands you a gun you clear it first thing. I don’t care if you just watched the person that handed it to you clear it, clear it again! If all guns are always loaded then no one should ever say “I didn’t know it was loaded!”

Rule 2: Never let the muzzle cover (point at) anything you are not willing to destroy.
This is one that is constantly overlooked and violated. I do it myself. I don’t want to destroy the ceiling yet I’d rather point it there than at a person. I don’t worry as much when a gun is in a holster or case or even sitting on a table. Once it’s under human control, in someone’s hands, that’s when these tools become dangerous. This applies to me or anyone handling the gun. Don’t point it at yourself or your body parts. This includes your foot! Don’t scrap this rule when you dry fire. You can practice most shooting techniques without firing a shot. Make sure what you are pointing your gun at and using as your dry fire target is something that can contain your round.

Rule 3: Keep your finger OFF the trigger until your sights are on the target
For some reason when a human picks up a gun they naturally put their finger on the trigger or in the trigger guard. Actually, that’s how guns are designed so that it is not difficult to get to the trigger when it comes time to shoot. That’s why always keeping this rule is so important. Guns do not shoot, people press the trigger and the mechanical device responds. Without your finger on the trigger, the gun normally won’t go off.
Remember this scene from the movie “Blackhawk Down”?
Steele: Sergeant, what's the meaning of this?
[Thinking he's talking about the unauthorized pig picking]
"Hoot": Just a little aerial target practice, sir. Didn't want to leave 'em behind.
Steele: I'm talking about your weapon, soldier. Now Delta or no-Delta, that's still a hot weapon. Your safety should be on at all times.
"Hoot": This is my safety, sir.
[He holds up his index finger and bends motions as if squeezing a trigger and then walks off]
Sanderson: Let it alone, sir. He hasn't eaten in a few days.
I guess Hoot was Hangry… but his sentiment is true. Finger discipline is the perfect “safety”.
This is one rule that is constantly violated on T.V. and in movies. When I see an actor with finger discipline I know the advisor for weapons did a good job. Once in a while you’ll find an actor that actually knows this rule first hand like Keanu Reeves who has been a competitive shooter.

Rule 4: Always be sure of your target.
I always add on the end of this rule “…and beyond.” You are responsible for every bullet that exits your gun. You MUST know where that bullet is going. In self-defense you must have 100% target identification. You cannot shoot at sounds or darkness. If you do, you may injure or kill someone you do not intend to. You could end up heart broken and in jail.
At the range, or wherever you shoot, ensure your backstop will stop a bullet. Not maybe, not slow it down, but stop it dead every time. Know also if what you’re shooting at will ricochet in any direction you don’t want it to. It can even ricochet back to you or whoever you’re shooting with. So be aware.
Situational awareness is so essential when you shoot. When it comes to self-defense just because you have drawn your gun doesn’t mean you must shoot. Once you see the threat you must assess if this perceived threat really is a threat. It should happen in a split second. You must be ready.

Know what you are doing.
These rules should be learned until you know them backward and forward. Become the model gun handler. Education can cure Hollywood gun handling. Your example can set the example and show anyone who sees you, that you are a serious gun owner. You keep these rules and you expect everyone else to do the same. You can be a great teacher even if you are not an instructor. You can be the one who can prevent tragedy.
Semper Paratus
Check 6