Firearms Safety Part 2

by Admin on August 19, 2013

Going into further detail on safety….

We all can agree that whatever list of rules you choose, none of them came down the mountain with Moses.  But, very smart people have defined and refined them to protect us (from ourselves and others).

Lets discuss in more detail, using COL Jeff Cooper’s 4 rules:

  1. All guns are always loaded
  2. Never let your muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target
  4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it

Rule # 1

2013 08 14 Glock 26 Chamber Check 1 CSC

Obviously, all guns are not in fact always loaded. Put simply, if you treat a weapon as loaded you automatically treat the weapon with the respect it is due.  This rule is intended to naturally lead people to not break the rest of the rules.  Most important, Rule #1 is a software (mindset) issue.  A mental foundation to appreciate and accept that weapons are designed for the purpose of projecting force.  That mindset leads one to treat the tools with the respect and discipline they warrant.  Logically you can inspect a weapon, confirm clear, remove ammunition from the room and then do dry fire, maintenance, training, etc.  But, treating a weapon as unloaded should be the exception, not the rule.  We often forget that, from novice to professional, we will likely be handling our weapons more often administratively than live fire.  If you have more repetitions handling your weapons in a lackadaisical manner as “unloaded” you are training yourself for failure.

Treat them as loaded until otherwise verified. Then double check. And have a buddy check if possible.


Rule # 2

We don’t live in a perfect world.  As I sit here the muzzle of my GLOCK from time to time points at my foot or calf depending on how I sit in the chair.  The rules are not meant to turn us all into robots and work against us in a gun fight.  Further, and more importantly, it is not necessary to take them to a point where you train yourself that no one can turn their head with a gun in their hands (trying to prevent violations of #3).  This is unrealistic, operators (as in anyone operating a weapon, not the very specific MOS awarded in the military) need to learn how to apply the rules in the real world.  They must be able to handle the weapons around people while maintaining control and discipline. 

Position SUL (“South”)

2012 09 06 Glock 19 Training Aids 9 cs

As a general rule directing the muzzle up or down is a safe choice to ensure good muzzle discipline. Sul, is a comfortable and safe position to move in close proximity to others or just to rest the weapon at the range while waiting. When combined with the “safety circle” principal, you are unlikely to point the weapon at yourself or anyone else.

Muzzle UP

Screen Shot 2013-08-14 muzzle up

Directing your muzzle upward is a good position as well, but for some reason people seem to frown upon it. I guess it looks too much like “hollywood” gun handling. BUT, if you were standing over a person (downed officer drill, etc), pointing your muzzle up would be the ideal position. Let us not forget the mechanical advantages in many scenarios such as CQB where the “muzzle up” position really shines and we can utilize gravity, the weight of the weapon, etc. to bring the gun into play. This is not a course or discussion on tactics per se, but something to consider.


Rule # 3

This is one of the most broken rules. I have seen shooters from all over the world and trigger finger discipline is always a concern. Individuals must master the duality of the trigger. When it is time to shoot you contract the trigger, focus on smooth activation, and following through.  BUT, once we have stopped shooting we have to flip the switch, and stay off the trigger. We can get into sympathetic response etc, but suffice it to say, keeping your finger out of the trigger guard until you have begun the firing sequence (trigger prep, etc) is the most logical and prudent thing to do. It should be noted that the firing sequence can be stopped at any point the shooter deems the shot no longer needs to be taken. This is a thinking man’s game.

2012 09 06 Glock 19 Training Aids 4 cs2012 09 06 Glock 19 Training Aids 5 cs


Rule # 4

PID (Positive Identification) is vital prior to directing lethal force at someone or something.  Incorporate target identification and decision making into your practice to ensure your brain is actively PID-ing your targets.  People have shot shadows, noises, TVs, mirrors, and (unfortunately) their own family in dark houses.  PID is vital.

The second half is environment. This could be something in the foreground or background. This might be a barrier that you need to work around to ensure you don’t shoot it. There may be other people in the area that you need to work around.

As a general rule incorporating more dynamic movement (kneeling, leaning, etc.) can help to solve these problems when items or persons are in your line of fire.

Lastly don’t forget this applies to the range as well.  Look at your target set-up to ensure you are not sending rounds over or around the berm. You are responsible for every round that you send down range.



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Firearms Safety

by Admin on August 19, 2013

Instructor accidentally shoots student

Unfortunately that headline is not a first, nor is it even all that uncommon–not by a long shot.

I took for granted the military’s regimented style and organization. Over that last several years I am continually surprised (yet never shocked) to be around people that do not follow basic safety rules.  Worse, some of these folks seem to think that they are trained to a point that they can be more lax and disregard fundamental safety principals.

An extreme majority of firearms related “accidents” are preventable had someone used just a bit of common sense and followed the rules. That takes these embarrassing blunders out of the accident category and places them squarely in the realm of willful negligence perpetrated by someone who should know better.

Shooting and other related activities are inherently dangerous. Whatever flavor of the rules you prefer, the general intent of “firearms safety rules” are the same. They are there to protect everyone. No one out ranks safety.

The Four Rules, attributed to COL Jeff Cooper, Gunsite

  1. All guns are always loaded
  2. Never let your muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target
  4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it

The NRA Fundamental Rules for Safe Gun Handling

  1. ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction
  2. ALWAYS keep your off the trigger until ready to shoot
  3. ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use

The Canadian Firearms Centre/ Canadian Firearms Safety Course, The Four ACTS of Firearm Safety

  1. Assume every firearm is loaded
  2. Control the muzzle direction at all times
  3. Trigger finger off trigger and out of trigger guard
  4. See that the firearm is unloaded. PROVE it safe.

Ohio gun safety instructor accidentally shoots student

By Kevin Conlon, CNN 8/13/13

“It was the first time I’ve been shot,” he said. “And hopefully the last.”


Oh the irony. An Ohio man was shot in the arm. At a gun safety class.

Michael Piemonte was attending a concealed-carry class with his wife Alison in central Ohio’s Fairfield County over the weekend. Such classes are required for anyone wanting carry a concealed weapon in the state.

There were 29 students in the lecture-type class, Piemonte said. He was sitting in the front row.

While the instructor was demonstrating a self-defense techniques, the gun went off. The bullet struck Piemonte in the arm.

Even he didn’t realize what had happened. “Everyone was in shock,” he told CNN.

“It took me a couple of seconds to realize that I had been shot.”

The 26-year-old said he’s in good spirits. “I’m just glad my wife did not get hit.”

The instructor did not return a call for comment, but Piemonte said he has been calling him regularly to check in.

“It makes me feel good that he is so concerned,” he said.

The Fairfield County sheriff’s deputy who responded to the scene described the shooting as accidental, The Columbus Dispatch newspaper reported.

Piemonte doesn’t have a gun yet, but was planning to get one this year. He still plans on doing so.

“It was the first time I’ve been shot,” he said. “And hopefully the last.”


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