As a firearms Instructor and having been given the opportunity to contribute to a great media platform such as News2a, I wondered where to begin. So, I thought, well how about the beginning, yes, what happens at the beginning of all my training classes, without fail. After a brief intro and short discussion on the day’s lesson, we cover SAFETY! It really doesn’t matter the level of proficiency and expertise, no matter whether you are a mere beginner or expert marksman, you will hear my version of Safety Rules to adhere to while we train.
Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded until you’ve ascertained otherwise. Don’t take my word for it, don’t assume, check, check twice. While we train, there will be plenty of times when you’ll be asked to assure that your firearm is clear, safe, and empty. When asked, the expectation is that you’ll assure that firearm is pointed in a safe direction, and is on safe (when safety lever is present), the magazine has been removed and you’ve racked the slide (or bolt depending) back several times to assure ejection of possible remaining rounds, locked back that slide (or bolt). Now that that’s done, assure that you can see the light of day through the empty mag well and see and feel that the breach of the barrel is clear of any obstruction such as a round/bullet. Again, check twice if you haven’t given it enough attention. One of the most common mechanical failures on a firearm is a broken extractor, if that’s the case, just think, you can rack all day and that round will remain chambered. So be sure to look and feel… confirm.
Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are aligned with the target and you’ve made the conscious decision to shoot. I like to see the trigger finger high indexed against the frame of the firearm, meaning high on the frame, if it’s hovering over the trigger/guard, not good enough. This is to prevent any startle or flinch reaction, as well as any type of physiological response to things that may happen during training.
Never point your firearm at anything you don’t intend to destroy. It’s called by many names, whether it be muzzling, lasering, flagging, don’t point the guns at each other or the instructors. Always be aware of your muzzle and keep it pointed in a safe direction, where if a discharge where to, God forbid, ever happen, no one would get hurt. Your muzzle awareness is ALWAYS paramount when handling a firearm.
Be sure of your target, threat, backstop and beyond. Watch your six! Be aware of the environment that you may be training in, whether in a shooting port, open training range or outdoors, your surrounding area could present some concerns and things could change quickly, always assure that you can safely focus and engage on the correct target.
If you’ve done any firearms training, you’ve already gathered, this is just my interpretation of the International Firearms Safety Rules, but this just hits on the most important Safety Rules during training and gun manipulation, there usually is much more.
Every Course/Instructor has their own set of procedures that also lend themselves to safe training. Depending on the level of training provided, these can vary. Wearing eye and ear protection is a must, not picking up anything that may fall in front of the firing line, understanding what shooting stimulus is being used, clarifying the preparatory commands to fire. On a general rule, especially with firearms, if you’re not sure Don’t Shoot! Instructors usually don’t mind clarifying or repeating the commands if needed. Let’s avoid any contagious fire. If you’re unsure and someone next to you fires, don’t just decide “I’ll shoot too!”.
This just touches on the most common safety procedures, there could be so much added, depending on what level of shooting and lesson plan is being trained. I know that Safety is paramount when I lead a class, as well as in the facility where I teach. Now that I’ve gotten through the much-needed important stuff, keep tracking us for much, much more in regards to Firearms Training.
“Proper Repetitive Training Builds Automatic Permanence!”
See you on the range!