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Monday, March 23, 2009

Firearms Training Part 1

After Riverwalker started wrote about firearms training I thought I'd write a little about some classes I've taken and various lessons I've learned.

First of all, the Four Rules:

1. All firearms are always loaded.

2. Never point a firearm at something you are not ready and willing to shoot.

3. Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until your sights are on the target.

4. Always know your target, what is beyond it, and what may come between you and it.

A little explanation of these may be in order here.

1. You should not "treat all firearms as if they are loaded" or "pretend it is loaded" or anything halfway like that. If you "treat it as if it is loaded" then sooner or later you will tell yourself "it really isn't loaded" and then you are asking for trouble.

An example of this idea: During a lecture for a class at Thunder Ranch at one point Clint drew his 1911, dropped the magazine, racked the slide to clear the chamber, then racked it a few more times, then locked the slide back and held it up so everone could see through the mag well and out the ejection port. He asked if we thought the gun was unloaded. When some guys kind of nodded a little (not me, I had an uncomfortable feeling) he dropped the slide and asked "Would any of you let me point this at your chest and press the trigger?"

Honestly, would you point your "unloaded" gun at your child or parent or spouse and press the trigger? All firearms are always loaded.

2. I've seen several pictures of hunters with animals they have shot with the muzzle of their rifle resting on their foot. What kind of nonsense is that? I've seen a couple of pics people posted online of someone posed with a game animal and their rifle was resting on the animal and apparently pointed at them. "Don't worry, it isn't loaded." Yeah, right. See Rule 1. Don't point a firearm at something unless you are ready and willing to shoot it.

I heard this in a safety lecture to kids but it works for grownups as well. Imagine a laser beam coming out the muzzle of the rifle. The laser beam will burn anything it is pointed at. I prefer to think of the beam as spreading out a little like a cone. Having a bullet pass 2 inches from you is better than hitting you but it would probably still take a few years off your life.

3. If you watch any tv or any movies you will see people walking around with their finger on the trigger while their firearm is in some "ready" position and not pointed at a target. That is one more reason why tv and movies are usually stupid. When you are startled or stumble, what usually happens? Your muscles tense up. If your finger is inside the trigger guard you will be very likely to put pressure on the trigger. Keep your finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until your sights are on the target.

4. Being sure of your target should be obvious, but almost every year somewhere in the USA someone shoots or shoots at another person when hunting. This past year there was a man that shot at something he saw moving in the woods and killed his own Grandson. Moron!!! Never shoot at something that "might" be a deer or other game animal or target!!!

Bullets also have a tendancy to miss their target or go through it, hence the need to know what is beyone your target. Don't tell me you never miss - the only man that never misses is the man that never shoots.

As far as being aware of what may come between you and your target I'll share a little experience I had. I was in a man's pasture shooting into a berm. It was sort of an informal shooting range. If you knew him you could shoot their for free as long as you cleaned up after yourself and did it at reasonable times. I was about finished when another car pulls up. A man and his son (about 8 years old) get out. I told them I was on my last magazine of ammo and I'd be out of the way. The man says that's fine with him and he starts unloading. I walked up towards the target and drew a handgun, put my sights on the target and was pressing the trigger when the boy goes running in front of me carrying some kind of target holder to set up in front of the backstop. If he had been a split second later he might have stepped in front of a moving bullet instead of one still in the chamber. His dad yelled at him, but by that time he was at the backstop. I was glad I was done for the day. I can also see how people could come between you and your target if you are hunting or just doing some long range shooting on public land. Be careful and be sure of your target, what is beyond it, and what may come between you and it.

The best safety in the world is the one between your ears.

Next time I'll start with an actual training class I went to.

1 comment:

Bullseye said...

Great post man. Those empty guns have killed a lot of people over the years. I remeber several years ago in NC I think, a guy shot a deer and the bullet went through and killed another hunter that was across the field. I handle a firearm daily and always treat them with respect, they demand it. Looking forward to part 2.


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