Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Skill Set: Safety – Rule #2

ImagePreviously, I discussed Safety Rule 1, which is treating every firearm as a loaded firearm. This week we’re discussing Rule 2: Never point the muzzle at anything you’re not willing to destroy. Firearms have one job, launching projectiles out of the barrel. They have no mind and don’t care what direction they are pointing. Your job is to make sure the muzzle is always pointing in a safe direction.

The key to Rule 2, and all aspects of safety, is consistency. You must always be aware of your environment and what is a safe direction to point the weapon. “Safe” is normally with the muzzle of your firearm pointing down. (Safety on, finger off the trigger.) Even when pointing the muzzle down be aware that bullets can/will bounce off a surface. Make sure there is a backstop capable of stopping a round or a clear area in front of where the muzzle is pointing in case a negligent discharge were to occur.

Ultimately the environment determines what is a safe direction. I’m on the second level of a building, with a wooden floor separating me from the people in the building’s lower level. Pointing it at the floor may not be a good idea because the bullet could easily penetrate the wood. I can point it at the wall, because the brick exterior would stop a round.

I’m not a big fan of pointing the muzzle up. What goes up comes down. If a negligent discharge does occur the bullet flies off into the sky. When it drops it can injure or kill. In Los Angeles, from 1985-92 one medical center treated 118 people due to falling-bullet injuries. Thirty-eight of the people died from their injuries. (http://www.abc.net.au/science/k2/homework/s95523.htm)

Tactically, pointing the muzzle up is not a good idea because if the threat gets in tight and close, where we know most confrontations take place, they can pass and trap the muzzle or jam it into your head.

Keeping the muzzle pointing in a safe direction sounds simple, but it only takes a fraction of a second for this rule to be broken. The pistol is in your hands, the hands are connected to the arms, and the arms to the body. The body tends to follow the head. Something draws your attention, you look to the side, and at the same time the rest of your body begins to follow. Suddenly your muzzle is pointing in an unsafe direction. This is especially true with long-guns, which have more contact points with your body. Or, you’re pointing the muzzle in a safe direction when someone unaware walks in front of you.

On a range Rule 2 is pretty easy to apply, but again always keep an eye on those around you. In a defensive situation, when mayhem is breakin’ loose all ’round, it gets complicated quickly. You’re moving, the threat(s) are moving, bystanders are freaking out, running everywhere, or frozen in place. Even though you’re in a fight you still have to practice muzzle discipline.

You identify the target. You decide you’re willing and ready to send bullets downrange. Now you put the sights on target. Until then, keep that muzzle pointing in a safe direction.


September 27, 0012 - Posted by | General Training

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