Revisit Your Gun Handling

Photo by DrJimiGlide

If you practice any aspect of shooting, whether it be for self-defense or even pure enjoyment, you need to periodically take a look at your gun handling. Safety is always a top concern around firearms, and we all know that familiarity breeds contempt.

The more you train or practice with a given firearm the more familiar you become with it. This can be a good thing – operating it under pressure should ideally be second nature. It is better to know where the controls are instinctively then have to figure it out every time you need to use it.

But increased familiarity also has a downside. The more familiar you are with a given firearm, the less you will be thinking about “the little things” when you are using it. This will be particularly true of things like firearm safety. If I build a bad trigger finger habit into my draw stroke I might not notice because of my familiarity and comfort level with the gun.

Clearly this is not a good thing.

My suggestion to you is to stop every once in a while and take a careful look at your gun handling and watch for these kinds of mistakes and habits. This is where using video in your training or working with a training partner can be helpful. If you do use either of these methods, then there is no need to wait to do this periodically, your eyes should always be open for safety issues, and no safety issue should go unchecked.

What should you look for when you are checking your gun handling?

There are two main categories of safety issues to watch out for in your own gun handling: muzzle and trigger.

Muzzle issues can come in a variety of flavors:

  1. Muzzling yourself on the draw-stroke

  2. Muzzling yourself when re-holstering (I once saw a woman at the range re-holster into a retention holster and muzzle her arm repeatedly holding the holster open. When called on it she said it was the only way…. Oh yeah? What about bringing the gun around your arm?)

  3. Muzzling yourself during any other manipulation (keep your hands behind the muzzle)

  4. Muzzling anyone else ever – watch where you are pointing that thing.

Trigger issues are also in abundance:

  1. Trigger finger in the trigger guard when drawing

  2. Trigger finger in the trigger guard when re-holstering

  3. Trigger finger in the trigger guard during any other manipulation (you don’t want to squeeze off a round while your hand is on the slide clearing a malfunction do you?)

Watch out for these safety issues when you train. If you don’t have the means to check yourself every time you are at the range, pay special attention every once in a while to make sure you don’t lapse into being unsafe. If you find a bad habit, fix it. Safety is of the utmost importance around firearms. Don’t let familiarity cause an accident.

What do you do to make sure you continue to safely manipulate your firearms at the range?

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