At an entry level (beginner) handgun class today, I became aware of something that I already knew, but that suddenly smacked me in the face - HARD. There are people who, no matter how many times you explain, state, discuss, cajole or remind them of important, never to be ignored principles, no matter how you say it, they just do not hear/listen to you. It’s one thing if they are ignoring proper grip, foot position or even trigger press - that can be adjusted. But, when they neglect proper safety protocols, the entire picture changes drastically.
During the classroom portion of the class, the Universal Safety Rules were taught and explained in detail. They are broken down, simplified, and reiterated. Demonstrations were given to fully illustrate what is proper and what is not. Students were also introduced by using the hands-on SIRT pistol. Safety and fundamentals were again, reviewed.
The Four Fundamental Safety Rules - Always -
#1- Treat every gun as if it is loaded.
#2- Keep your Finger off the trigger until the sights are on target and you are ready to shoot.
#3- Keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
#4- Be aware of your target and what is beyond, in front of, and around it.
Having taught thousands of beginning students over four decades, very little surprises me. However, I still marvel at people who come to class to learn yet either don’t listen or think they can do it better. Most do fine with dry fire/SIRT but, as soon as they move to live fire, they seem forget everything! Of course this doesn’t pertain to all new students but, there are those few ...
The two primary violations I see are violations of rules #2 and #3. However by far, having a finger on the trigger is the most prevalent. I believe this behavior is learned through watching TV and movies where actors generally ignore safety rules for cinematic reasons. Whatever the reason, the behaviors rub off on the unenlightened. “If Lenny Brisco does it, it must be okay!”
Muzzle awareness runs a close second. Some will fire a shot, then look at their target. In doing so, they forget (?) about where they should be orienting the muzzle. They often look at the gun like a baseball shortstop looks at his glove when they miss a hot grounder, and point the gun all over! Myself and my instructors even occasionally have to step in to grab a muzzle and keep a student from looking down the muzzle to see why the gun didn't fire! We are constantly on our toes.
People who decide to carry a handgun for personal protection must adhere to the Universal Safety Rules at all times - both on range and during their daily carry. Carrying a gun is a HUGE responsibility, not to be taken lightly. As we always say, Safety First. And for goodness sake, out of respect for life and limb of yourself and those around you, LISTEN to your instructors and heed their instruction.
BE SAFE • BE EFFECTIVE • BE READY